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Collect People, not Trophies

May 11, 2012

The 2012 Excellence in Bowling trophy (aka The Tommy Trophy) has come home to Hugoville for the first time in the major award’s two-year history.  Why “Tommy?”  Upon reconvening the competition’s participants this year, not one of us could remember why we named it that last year.

(Team captain/ co-winner not pictured)

The competitors this year came from all corners of the globe – from Connecticut to Hoboken, from Queens to upstate New York.  Three two-man teams competed for the coveted Tommy.  The losing team from last year – yours truly and newly nicknamed I’d Like Two Coronas Upside Down in My Margarita (ILTCUDIMM) – arrived early to stretch.  The reigning champions, Half-Ape and Moon Over My Hammy, were brimming with irrational confidence.  Virgin entrants this year, The Greeks,  aptly comprised two fellows named Greek 1 and Greek 2. The bowling was competitive and there was an abundance of punitive drinking during the first two games.  Just like every big thing in life, it came down to the 10th frame.  Someone chokes and another excels.  See picture above.

But the trophy doesn’t matter.  Sure I’d rather share it with my teammate than have the Greeks take her home to Hoboken or Queens.  Worse, it could be back in Half-Ape and Hammy’s possession for another year of whatever they do with it. More important than the trophy, this year I came away with some important lessons.

First, always bet on a horse named “I’ll Have Another.”

The second lesson learned is more universal and it hit me like a converted Dime Store split.  Gold-dipped, skirted female bowlers memorialized into trophy form (even when dipped in chocolate) are not the real prizes in life.  People are this world’s treasures.  And this past weekend I added a few more to my collection.  A people collection?  Yes, I collect people.  I’ve collected many over the years.  I’ve also lost a few, but I’ll find them again.

Many people are, technically speaking, interesting people.  They have experiences, circumstances, thoughts, observations that are unique or otherwise of interest to others.  However, I’ve observed that there are a lot of so-called interesting people who I find unbelievably boring.  Why is that?  I’ve concluded that to be interesting to someone you also need to be interested.  In addition to having and sharing your own stories acquired through the natural extension of your interests, you must also be interested in others; in their adventures, tales, and general contribution to the dialogue.  I find that the most interesting people understand and, in fact, excel at balancing both being interesting and being interested.  Talking and listening; the give and take of the humans.

I collected ILTCUDIMM and Half-Ape many decades ago because of those special attributes.  I dug up some rare audio from 1990 (that’s 22 years ago!) including those two and myself.  Half-Ape sings the best lullabies.  Birth (Featuring Half-Ape)

Then there are the Greeks.  Brothers, drinkers, hockey-lovers, fence climbers.  We fell in love with each other within thirty minutes of meeting.  I found them, too, to be made of that rare stuff:  interesting and interested.

As far as Hammy, well I had him on my watch list from last year’s tourney.  This year, in our seventh hour at the Chili’s bar, Hammy and I discussed male and female nature.  The conversation intrigued the barmaid and we had a three-way.  The conversation closed with the young lady showing us the beautiful bouquet of flowers that were delivered to her today while she worked.  She handed me the note.  It was a touching love letter from her boyfriend presently serving in the Army and fighting in Afghanistan.  It was signed, “Tommy.”  And so we come full circle.

To sum it up:  Interesting people are interested in others.

It is no small joy to be victorious on the lanes.  For the following year I get to share the Tommy Trophy with my teammate and party with her like the 1986 Montreal Canadiens did with Lord Stanley’s Cup.  This coming year Tommy and I will go fishing, enjoy bubble baths, and take road trips together.  More important to me, however, are the people I collected while co-winning the 2012 Excellence in Bowling prize.

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