It was a cold Winter evening as the Camp Carolina Winter staff stepped out on to the hallowed lanes of ‘Strykes Again’ on the Rosman Highway, Brevard. It was the moment we’d all been waiting for and we were super amped for it! Would those endless suicides JJ had forced us to run or those thousands of push-ups Mary Eccles had demanded finally pay off or would our dreams shatter into the air of the night?! As we pulled into the car park with Eye of the Tiger pounding in our ears and Alfred’s inspirational speech back on the sacred turf of the OD field still fresh in our minds, there was a bitter silence as we all pondered what was about to be. We stepped out of the vehicle and made our way to the front entrance, pausing only for Simone to sign some autographs for a few of our local South African fans huddled together pen in hand, paper at the ready. As we entered the arena where battle would soon take place there was a deadly hush as pool players stopped mid shot, bowlers stopped mid bowl, the karaoke machine instantly stopped working and everyone began to take notice. Was it JJ’s incredibly tight outfit? Was it Mike’s amazing turtle onesy? Was it the lack of their inspirational leader Alfred who was away on very important business at Ingles? Only time would tell! We quickly got to the front desk and searched high and low for our footwear (the key to any good bowler). Once that was done, there was only one more thing to do, find the perfect bowling ball! For the next few minutes we split up to find them, naturally Jimbo took much longer than the rest of us as he was struggling to find a ball that he could even lift. Once ready we gathered at our chosen lane (we named him Elvis) and begin taking on some water to keep hydrated. Jimbo added sunscreen as he was sure to burn under the heat of the bowling lights and JJ began to lead us in some light stretches (1, 2, 3…..). Five more minutes passed before we were summoned to the front desk to go over the rules and then begin the epic bowl off.
And so it began, with JJ storming out the blocks and Greg (head of maintenance) not far behind him. Fitness would soon begin to take it’s toll however and JJ’s lack of cardio exercise was starting to show. All those training sessions with Alfred that he’d missed due to his overwhelming urge to kayak every day possible were coming to the fore. Arguments were starting to occur and the cracks were opening. What could we do to try and turn the tide on the super elite bowling experts from Ilahee, Rockbrook and Keystone! It seemed we had no answer to their carefully planned training regime and superior technique, but just when all seemed lost, in the blink of an eye everything changed! Where was that sound coming from? Who was it? After a few seconds the whole bowling arena had come to a standstill to try and work out where it was coming from and thats when it hit us! As we scanned the horizon looking for signs of a superhuman presence, there he was standing tall on the stage microphone in hand…….. Trent (our car mechanic and all round handy man). What a voice, what a man, what a day! Who would’ve thought that this could happen, but there was Trent on stage singing ‘I Will Survive’ by the great Gloria Gaynor. His words seemed to inspire us, as one by one we picked ourselves up and began dominating the event. Strike, after strike after strike! We were closing in on the leaders and suddenly everyone was taking note! As the final round began we needed 70 points out of a possible 65. Impossible I hear you say, but after hearing those words from Trent anything was now possible! We bowled our hearts out, but eventually it was not enough and we had to settle for one of the minor places. We were disappointed but still in an upbeat mood and proud of our dedication to teamwork and our ability to never give in! We handed in our shoes and left the arena to a slow clap! There’s always next year said JJ as the last one of us entered the vehicle and began our journey back to camp!