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December 06, 2001

The mighty K.C. and me
By Dan Patrick

For a reason unbeknownst to me and one I have my entire staff working to ascertain, I recently had a couple days off in a row. On the second day, I was getting ready to head to Bristol when my family assured me I didn't have to go. After pinching myself and using a few other favorite reality checks, it occured to me I actually had some vacation time to use. I had heard about this thing called vacation: you spend time with family or friends, you don't have to work, you relax and re-energize...yes, it was coming back to me. So I loaded my wife and kids in the car and headed to the Catskills.

Everything was fine until I took my son bowling. We headed over to Dirty Dancing Lanes (or whatever it was called) and discovered there was a contest that day and the bowler with the highest score won a gold pin. I wanted that pin.

My son and I were installed in a lane next to one that was really hopping. As I changed shoes, I noticed the guy next to me was apparently a local bowling star. He was a big, burly guy with a moustache, not unlike former NFL quarterback and current ESPN studio host Mark Malone. The first thing to catch my eye was his fancy bowling bag with "KC" embroidered on one side. Later, he told me it stood for "King of the Catskills."

"That's alliteration," he said. I assumed he was the bowling "King of the Catskills," because he certainly wasn't the grammar king of anywhere. Aside from the bag and the title, this KC also had his own Sunshine Band. No kidding; he had an entourage. Now, I really wanted that pin.

KC was a lefty and we got a full view of each of his shots. He had form Earl Anthony would admire and he knew it. And he let me know it with an occasional nod and wink. This guy liked eye contact. All of the commotion picked up a bit when KC was told I was that guy from ESPN, Kenny Patrick. Or was it Rich Scott?

Candidly, I was on my game that day. Even with the gamesmanship KC laid on me, I played well. Soon, the scuttlebutt around the alley made it clear that either KC or I was going to win that pin. Even though we were playing separately and it wasn't technically a head-to-head contest, we paid attention to each other. It was nip and tuck all the way. I continued to play out of my gourd and finished with a 201. The King of the Catskills would essentially need three strikes on the tenth frame to beat me.

Well, they don't call him the King of the Catskills for nothing. The Mighty KC did strike out those last three balls and beat me with a 204, which he made sure I noticed. I was devastated. I left a diminished man, despite my son's insistence it was no big deal.

Make no mistake, I love being with my family. But the rest of that vacation stuff is overrated if you ask me.

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