The birth of Wobblegong
On Thursday, November 30, after months of careful planning and procrastination, the Wobblegong Sports and Social Club held its inaugural event, one whose turnout was commensurate with the low levels of skill on display.
Two middle-aged men, desperate to show that their leisure hours could be spent in a way even loosely described as “productive” – or “fulfilling” – gathered at Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall bowling alley to launch an organisation that, given time, would surely attract thousands of members.
The two – let’s just call them the “President” and the “Treasurer” – envisaged a lively mob, wearing similar T-shirts, as an alternative to any proper recreational groups.
But it had to start somewhere, and start it did.
The arrival of the athletes did not set the stands ablaze with anticipation, it must be said. But eventually the crowd, or “Wesley”, warmed to the good-natured banter between the competitors, when he was not busy fixing problems in other customers’ lanes.
A change of shoes, a quick haka, and the game was on.
The first match was highly competitive, with much creative use of the gutters. Attacking play wins fans, defence wins finals.
The outcome was close, as is every result under 50 in this game. The President took the final honours in a victory very much akin to dancing with one’s sister.
But tension began to show at the start of the second game in an unfortunate display of unsportsman-like behaviour. The Treasurer grinned viciously as he leaned his face into that of the President, with the top bits of his smile all ticcy.
“I slept with your blankie,” he hissed, as the President looked around to ensure that the crowd was still fixing the Coke machine.
This sledging had little effect on the seasoned sportsman, for two reasons. First, and most obvious, his opponent and fellow club foundation member had little grasp of the concept of this less-than-acceptable tactic. And second, one does not rise to the rank of President without knowing where one’s blankie is at all times.
Driven by the slight to his fluffy blue bedmate, the President broke the magic 60 mark to score a second win, and the best-of-three series.
His celebrations were short. The months of planning were Gregorian, and did not allow for the Prophet’s birthday in the Muslim Hijri calendar, for which bars and nightclubs are closed. The social side would have to wait.
It won’t be waiting long, however. The Wobblegong Sports and Social Club will be holding its Carols by Candlelight dinner dance on Thursday, December 21.
And we believe there’s still room on the bus.