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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                                  by Randy Ooney



The Banquet Trail


    Although they don’t often make mention anymore, wintertime used to be the “banquet trail” for major league ballplayers.  This was their off season, and well known players would make personal appearances at company dinners and events.  The players would usually have a speaking engagement after the meal, and for a nominal fee, would relate some of the on field experiences from the previous season and sign a few autographs.  Their reward would be a few extra bucks in their pocket, and a few extra pounds to be worked off at Spring training time.  In these days, most of the players are not really in need of the extra bucks, and the Major League clubs usually schedule the promotions, a la the Twins caravan.  Players are allowed 3 ounces of lean roast beef, plenty of green beans and broccoli, and one Gatorade and Vodka on the rocks.

    Bowlers have had a tradition of banquets for as long as I can remember.  There are a few differences, for example, instead of one speaker at a time, everyone gets to talk at the same time.  Instead of the lean roast beef, there is a 22 ounce slab of prime rib au jus and a baked potato with plenty of butter and sour cream.  You will be able to work it off on the golf course this summer.  And instead of the social Gatorade cocktail ……. Well, to each his own. 

    Door prizes are now a favorite at many bowling banquets.  Since no one really needs another door, we substitute various items to take home and wrap up to give to a favorite brother-in-law for Christmas.  The guy who has never touched a putter wins the free round of golf.  The 6 foot 5 inch 250 pound guy wins a new shirt, size large, the two fisted scotch drinker wins a bottle of wine, and the guy who likes to have a glass of wine with his meal, wins the bottle of Old Ground Hog.  But what the heck, these prizes are generally donated by our sponsors and the bowling centers we patronize, so please take the time to thank them for their generosity. 

    Most important - bowling banquets can be fun, and an opportunity to get to know others in your league a little better.  If you choose to imbibe on a potent potable or two, be my guest.  But if you are driving home, please be sensible.  I would like to bowl with you again next year. 

    Time to open another case of Jesse Ventura action figures.  I have a few more banquets to attend.              

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