Monday, September 25, 2006

The Holy Grail of the Class of 2007: The PBA Bowler

This column originally appeared in The Georgetown Law Weekly Vol. 43 Issue No. 2 on September 26, 2006.

Two years ago we 3Ls sat in Hart Auditorium waiting for Dean Aleinikoff to address us. We were excited, nervous, and $150,000 richer than we are now. I suspect that his speech was inspiring, uplifting, encouraging, and challenging; I don't know for sure because I don't remember a single word of it. Actually, that's not precisely true. I remember one bit from the speech, and it has stuck with me: one of us was a PROFESSIONAL BOWLER.

In case that did not come through, let me repeat: a professional (as in paid) bowler (as in the Fred-Flintstone-Kingpin-What-angels-do-to-make-rain variety) is a 3L or 3E at Georgetown University.

I must find this person.

Someone who got a paycheck doing what my parents did three nights out of seven during my childhood woke up one afternoon three years ago and decided to go to law school. Someone turned down a run at the PBA championship for the chance to write onto The Tax Lawyer. No disrespect to the good people who staff The Tax Lawyer, but in a three-way choice between bowling, reading tax law submissions, and eating nails, I would have to put eating nails as the middle preference.

I don't know if you read this column, Professional Bowler Woman or Man, but I call to you. Please, please, please stand up and claim the title you deserve, "Coolest Job Before Law School EVER." I don't know who you are, exactly, or even if you are still in law school here.

"What did you do before transferring to Yale?"
"I was a 1L at Georgetown."
"Oh? How was that?"
"It was like my time as a professional bowler, but with less locker space."

I am reminded of the fact that we have a bowler in our midst whenever I notice a fellow law student with talent; I find myself thinking "Wow! That is some talent!" and in the next thought, a picosecond later, "almost as cool as the bowler!" Most of us had something we were reasonably good at before coming to law school; we may not have gotten paid or had specially dedicated shoes, but we had enthusiasms before matriculating here.

The existence of the bowler puts to lie the old stereotype of law students being just failed pre-med students. Some of us are also failed professional athletes, failed artists, failed writers, and failed lovers. All of us have stuff we enjoyed doing "before law school" that we hope to take up doing again "after law school." There are talents and interests we had that we have almost forgotten about. (1Ls: you are in the process of forgetting your talents now. The beer helps.) We put off doing what it is that we love because we "only have to make through the next few years" and "there'll be time for doing that later." I call shenanigans on that. If you can't make time to write/paint/direct a pornographic film now, while you have a student's schedule, you will never get around to it.

Here's a thought you can take home: right now, as a student, you have the most free time you will have until you retire or die.

There will never, in your entire life, be a better time to learn kickboxing, take up a language, or enter an eating contest. If you used to play harpsichord, keep playing it. If you have corporations reading to do that would prevent you from practicing, it is vitally important that you learn this phrase: "Aw, **** it. I'm gonna play harpsichord."

The typical 1L thinks thusly: "I have to get through this year. Everyone says it's the toughest year. I just have to work and read and binge drink and work and read and next year it will all be different."

The typical 2L thinks thusly: "Wow, this year is even harder than last year. I just have to improve my grades so I can get more call-backs next year. No more binge drinking; I need a job. I just have to work and read and then I'll get a job this summer and I'll be set and then take it easy."

The typical 3L thinks thusly: "Man, firm life sucked this past summer. I don't want to work that hard. I'll have to it easy this year, because then I'll have to pull 70+ hour weeks for the next few years until I make partner. I'll relax for the next few months, then I'll just work and write and work and write and pay off some debts. Maybe then , in my mid- to late-30's, I'll go to grad school."

I was reading an article the other day about CEO's of big companies. They are mostly type "A" women and men who need to be the best at everything that they do. They all try to be authors, musicians, skydivers, etc. That is not what I am suggesting you do; you should not just take up hobbies so you can be well-rounded. I'm saying you should do the things that you wish you did more of RIGHT NOW. If it's playing basketball, cheers. If it's cooking at home, cheers. If it's getting yourself or someone else pregnant, cheers. For me, I just want to sleep for fourteen hours a day and eat bacon, because that is what I wish I had done more of these last few years. We don't have to have the most impressive life resumes; we don't all have to be a lawyer/ politician/ scientist/ fighter/ mage/ thief to pursue what it is we're good at. We just have to do something, now.

I hope that the Bowler still bowls.

Mark Nabong needs to move his crap out of our office. His article can be found online at


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