However, I was introduced to bowling not in America, but in Vienna. I was enthusiastic from the very beginning and took this sport seriously for many years. At my best, I even managed to get into the top 10 percent of players in the world. Those were good times. But it’s been a while again.
America is El Dorado for all bowling fans. And it was the same for me. Once in San Francisco, I started looking for a suitable bowling alley. New equipment was also needed. A bowling ball is not just a bowling ball. There are small but subtle differences. So I got career advice and left a small fortune on the job. But now I knew I had the best of the best, nothing could happen anymore. I had the equipment. Soon a bowling alley was found. in Presidio Park in San Francisco. Former US Army camp. Small but cute. Only 12 lanes. This was just right for me. I didn’t like big halls very much. Most of them had about 50 lanes next to each other. The biggest hall I ever played in was in Las Vegas. 120 lanes. All line up nicely next to each other. Impressive, but too big for me. So I was very happy with my discovery.
Well, you might be wondering what Clint Eastwood has to do with any of this. Well, it was like this: One morning I was practicing at my bowling alley again. At nine in the morning I was the only player in the hall. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man in a flannel shirt and faded jeans, two lanes away from me, take a bowling ball from a beanbag and prepare to bowl. This is actually nothing unusual. But somehow it seemed to me that I knew this man. So I took a closer look. And he looked away again, and he looked again. Is it or not? Clint Eastwood, one of the most famous actors in the world. He bowls next to me. It is almost impossible. But the third time I looked at it, I was sure. it is. Well, he also has the right to free time and some fun.
I’m not the type to go straight to celebrities and want autographs. He decides to play at the somewhat hidden bowling alley. And so I allowed him. Of course I was very happy. I know many of his films. One of them is “Escape from Alcatraz”. And this island is just a few hundred meters from San Francisco. By the way, I once met a real prisoner while visiting Alcatraz. His name is Jim Killeen.
But now back to the game. My results were good. And I kept glancing at Clint Eastwood. Bowling doesn’t seem to be his greatest strength. But suddenly my heart is beating a little faster. During a break from the game, he walked up to me, held out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Clint.” “Hi, my name is Martin,” I said, stammering slightly. I have no idea what he wants from me. “Would we like a beer?” Would I like to have a beer with him? Of course I wanted. And a lively conversation started about bowling. When and why which ball is the best. Any preferred technology etc. He clearly enjoyed it. And I didn’t say a word about his films. It seemed to me that he was clearly enjoying not talking about his career and his films for once. He told me he still had an apartment in San Francisco and that he would sometimes sit when he had time.
A wonderful meeting with a famous Hollywood star whom I knew only from the screen before. Impressive how simple and human he acted. No trace of air and grace or arrogance. Just a guy who wanted to play some bowling for fun and came across me.
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