Yes, i just used the term "shout out". Don’t judge. Moving on…
Looking back, I can honestly say I’m proud of my achievements in wrestling. I was a scholarship collegiate athlete, a four-year starter in the NCAA, and came within inches of being crowned All-American. Granted, it was barely a quarter scholarship, I didn’t start full-time until late in my sophomore season, and it was Division II; that kind of resume could STILL lead some to believe that I’m the great athlete of the Salvini clan. Oh, not so fast. With a dad that was a California high school standout in both baseball AND football, and a sister that would have probably waterskied professionally had it not been for a terrible knee injury suffered in her mid-teens, I always just assumed I had a firm grip on the number three spot in the family. That is, until last week.
Jeanne "Maddog" Salvini shot right past the three of us to take sole possession of the "#1 Athlete in the Fam" spot when she and a few girlfriends won the season championship for their bowling league last Thursday. Not only did she do her part to help earn the title that night, she also brought home the much-coveted Naked Pin: an unpainted (what did you think "naked" meant?) bowling pin rewarded to their team’s best performer each week… which, since it’s the end of the season, she gets to keep until the next one begins, thankyouverymuch! Now although you may not be as impressed with the league title as I am, you simply MUST respect the individual performance I’m about to describe.
This particular championship is decided by a three-game match between the winners of the first and second halves of the regular season. Maddog & Friends eked out the first season win, with her averaging a respectable yet human 120 pins per game while using a house ball. This early success led to a certain kooky Italian teammate who shall remain unnamed (Margie) to convince her it was time to invest in her own bowling ball, and she did just that. What happened next could not have been predicted. Awkward finger-hole placement and a few "professional" pointers (which were anything but) later, her natural delivery was completely ruined, leading to a significant drop in her average, and a last-place second-half finish for the team.
Flash forward to the championship. Coming off a less than stellar performance the week before that contained a paltry 91-pin effort, Maddog’s confidence was in the basement. Finding herself on the biggest stage possible with countless eyes on her, how did she respond? In a word: masterfully. With a 460-pin match total highlighted by a 171 single-game score, she led her team to a commanding victory! And that, my friends, is what they call a serious CLUTCH performance.
As a perennial choke-artist myself (read: ALMOST All-American), I can attest to just how hard something like that is. That’s nerves of steel, baby. It’s defying the odds and coming through when your team needs your absolute best. Screw Michael Jordan hitting the game-winning jumper… we’re talking straight Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford in The Natural) overcoming a batting slump, old-age, having just broke "Wonderboy", and oh yeah… a friggin gunshot wound!… and STILL busting out the lights with his walk off home run, carry-you-off-the-field EPIC SHIT here people!!!
And while I can name more than a few opponents that I downright dominated in my wrestling career, I don’t know where they are, so who really cares? I do know FOR A FACT, however, that there is a fairly large group of middle-aged women that bowl on Thursday nights at Daffodil Lanes in Puyallup, Washington who have kids scattered across the country to whom I can now roll up to and say the following:
My mom whooped your
mom’s ASS at bowling!!!
…way to go Mom!… that’s WAY cooler than, "my dad can beat up your dad"