Super Bowling

Another Super Bowl (number XXXV) come, another Super Bowl gone. (If you don't know by now that the Ravens beat the Giants 34-7, then...then...uh, well then you're probably plain un-American.)

Ho-hum; rainy days and the-day-after-the-Super-Bowl Mondays always get me down, you say.

And most years, you stay down right up until March Madness.

Because the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and Super Sunday) is officially now over. And to you, Valentine's Day may still seem like it's a long ways off (and even when it gets here it may not do much for you). Spring seems even further away.

Also because, sadly, February is the doldrums of the American professional sports calendar, a time when much of the nation-males, anyway-suffers from pestilent PFSS (post-football season syndrome) and/or from its vile cousin, FDA (football deficiency affliction).

Yeah, yeah, the NBA plays every night of the week, but so what? Things don't get good until the marathonic May playoffs begin. The NHL? Well, hockey is great to watch in person but not nearly as invigorating on television.

Pro golf and tennis are in season (aren't they always, though?); however, no one pays them too much attention until the majority of the country warms up-and we are able to play these sports ourselves.

And let's not forget about NASCAR. The Daytona 500's in February. But while millions enjoy and appreciate NASCAR, it is still not thought of as a "major" sport because its spectators can't (legally) participate in racing on a recreational level...thank God.

So then, you ask, where to turn? What to do? Why go on with least through February?

Before you start to bawl, start to bowl.

Bowling is healing. It's therapeutic...even more so than Super Sunday.

Yes, the Super Bowl sparks a sense of community in people: Super Bowl parties are almost as common, and important (in some circles, usually those that treat the game like a religious observance), as Christmas gatherings; and for a day or two following the game, Super Bowl ads generate water-cooler conversation between co-workers who would otherwise not communicate.

The Super Bowl's a social Band-Aid, so to speak.

Fine. The country certainly needs this.

But a better butter for our social bread is bowling. Because bowling is soulfood, man. Here's why:

1. Name a better way to alleviate life's frustrations than by chucking a 15-pound orb as hard as you from one end of a glass-slick alley to the other end, with the goal of causing destruction to the pins once it arrives there.

2. Name a better way to bond with fellow humans than by donning alike, ugly bowling shirts and shoes and sequestering yourself in a packed, darkened hall with poor ventilation, hanging currents of cigar smoke, blaring music at least a decade old, and greasy French fries.

3. Name a better way to boost self-confidence than to hear others tell you that you're the best athlete on the team-even a better athlete than the guys who bowl for a living-even if you're 5'6", 300 pounds, and can't walk up the bowling alley steps without feeling faint of breath, because you're good at doing 1. above and you really, really like doing 2.

Another great thing about bowling is that you can enjoy participating in it even if you are terrible at it. Bad at golf? You swear excessively and purposefully wrap your three iron around a pine tree. Bad at football? You quit because the punishment isn't worthwhile. Bad at tennis? You play racquetball.

And in actuality, bowling may be the one sport in which you can enjoy the fact that you're terrible more than you enjoy playing the sport itself. Bowling provides an unthreatening environment in which you can laugh at yourself, which is healthy. That is, you can bowl atrociously without being embarrassed.

Or, you can opt for bumpers in the gutters.

What's most important, though, is that bowling's February's savior. While other professional leagues are struggling through the month, the PBA (Professional Bowler's Association) is just heating up.

The PBA is a working man's league. The guys (and gals-there's a women's tour) are normal: they're not physically imposing (in fact, they're often the opposite); they aren't filthy rich (the winner of the 2000 PBA National Championship, Norm Duke, took home only $23K); and they bowl their February tournaments in unillustrious places where you likely have in-laws: Toledo, Ohio; Latham, New York; Burlington, North Carolina; The Villages, Florida; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The same day that the Super Bowl is played, pro bowlers begin rolling for said PBA National Championship (bet you didn't know that); the tournament concludes on Feb.4. Three days later, the Empire State Classic blasts off. And the PBA was wise enough to pack the rest of the month with three inaugural events. All tournaments are aired on ESPN.

You really need to check one out. For the cure for a floppy sports February is not reminiscing the Super Bowl but appreciating the gerund for that noun.

Meet Jeff Zurcher at Ace's Bluegrass Bachelor Auction on Friday, February 9, 7 pm - 9 pm at the Loudoun House, Castlewood Drive. No, he's not for sale, he's serving as a celebrity panelist. (Panelists will be "interviewing" the bachelors, beauty-pageant style.) Auction proceeds benefit Woodstock Animal Foundation.


Damn, we're good

Get this. In good ol' 1999, in ACE's little Best of issue, FOX-56 news-stud Marvin Bartlett was elected the Most Eligible Bachelor in town by the general local populace, and we duly reported it. Somehow, People Magazine got wind of our little contest, and listed him as one of the most eligible bachelors in America in their Bachelor issue, this past summer.


Well, this past December, none other than Affrilachia-auteur Frank X Walker, wrote a Southern Voices essay reflecting on his year as Ace's Model Citizen (cover, December 1999). And now, a little birdie has told us that the issue made its way to New York, and Walker has been approached by -drumroll, please- yes, People Magazine to be in their annual eligible bachelor issue for 2001.

We're happy to provide this handy referral service, but dammit, we'd at least appreciate a finders' fee.

No word as to whether Frank X Walker has agreed to participate.-RB

Do your taxes, and avoid the death

And they say no one does any good deeds anymore. Struggling with your 1040 forms? Subdued by a stack of 740s? Well the good Samaritans/Transylvania University accounting students are willing to help. They'll be giving free tax advice to anyone whose income is under $30,000, starting Feb 7. Twenty-seven students will be available every Wednesday from 3-5:30pm at Transy's Cowgill Center out of the goodness of their hearts... for the sake of a little practice before midterms, we bet. You need to bring your W2s, 1099s, your state and federal tax returns from last year, your IRS forms you got in the mail, and social security numbers for any dependents. It's a lot of stuff but it's free. And hey, don't knock it cause they're students-they couldn't possibly be more confused than the rest of us. -RB

Get Hitched, Cheap.

All right, all you devoted Ace fans... you've enjoyed our newsweekly for free, now it's time you did something for us.

See, Marvin Bartlett (the FOX newsanchor and uber-bachelor) called our own Eric Haddix concerning their upcoming Valentine's Day show. See, Eric is a certified and legally ordained minister in the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California. He's used to doing strange weddings, and doing them cheap.

So here's what we need: a couple in the mood for matrimony. For bargain prices. Like, a half-decent bottle of wine. The stranger the ceremony, the more we'll like it. Get married in penguin suits. Do it in Woodland Park, on the swing set. Whatever. But it has to be on or around Valentine's Day.

Thinking about tying the knot? Want a snazzy new tax break? Want to make a wry, ironic comment on the Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire society? Desperate for a legal, binding commitment from your loved one? Why not help us out at the same time.

We give you a free paper every week; you owe us so big. But do us this one favor, and we'll call it even. -RB

Bush turns down Patton; Patton cries like schoolgirl

Guv'nor Patton finally met the Prez on Jan 26, to the delight of all, the guv's press folk let us know. They talked about the Bush education proposal, and the Guv said it was a "very cordial, productive meeting." Patton is reported to have stressed the need for special education funds. But Bush didn't commit, and Patton was stood up for the prom, figuratively speaking. So he copped out, saying "While not getting a commitment on full funding for special education, I feel President Bush listened and will look seriously at increasing much-needed funding..." It has been reported that Bush said, "WhatEVER..." then laughed and high-fived Vice-President Cheney, but that has not been as yet confirmed.-RB