Ten-Pin Teambuilding at Grand West

Proof that we at CapeTownMagazine.com know how to have a bowling ball

It was Friday and Marcus, our Managing Director, had promised us all a teambuilding afternoon. As we swarmed around a lunch of Long Street Café pizzas, we had no idea what the afternoon had in store for us. All we were promised was that this surprise outing had fun written all over it. ‘Right, guys,’ he finally announced, ‘We’re going to forget about search engine optimization and go bowling instead.’ So much for work ethic, but it was a Friday, after all. So, off we set…

Bowling is far more than simply rolling a ball along a flat surface towards ten expectant pins. It’s UV lights, loud music, fizzy drinks and strange shoes. It’s offering a concerned ‘never mind’ when your teammate scores zero, whilst stifling a cackle at their misfortune. By indulging your inner child with the simple throw of a ball, inhibitions are lost and friendships strengthened. Every once in a while, it does you good to get out of the office for some ten-pin teambuilding. We at Cape Town Magazine certainly had a bowling ball.

Grand West is Cape Town’s capital of fun – perfect for American-style bowling

On our drive to Grand West, John took a wrong turning, so four of us did a detour to Cape Town International Airport. As we approached Grand West, I couldn’t fathom how we might have missed this larger-than-life, world of entertainment. Through the swing doors we entered a gigantic casino, painted in all the grandeur of Vegas and ringing with the sound of one hundred slot machines. As we followed the indoor streets to the bowling alley, we marveled at cinemas, ice-skating rinks, restaurants and even a concert arena. It was at this moment that we understood Grand West’s status as Cape Town’s capital of fun – what a fitting location for a fabulous, American-style bowling alley.

This alley had gone out of it’s way not to disappoint. UV lights illuminated 12 lanes, we were surrounded by cheesy pop music and our colleagues were already dosing themselves up on coca cola and crisps. We swapped the office for funky bowling shoes, sporting go faster stripes and stars. Lize was proudly parading two neon laces that didn’t match, whilst Jess and Tammy, having decided to go barefoot, felt at one with the bowling ball. As we eagerly selected our names on the scoreboard, we eyed up bowling balls of varying sizes and fantasized about the perfect strike. Stress, although an inevitable part of adult life, was nowhere to be seen and the promise of innocent fun beckoned.

A game of chance or strategy?

And so began our first game. None of us are World Champion bowlers with one thumb bigger than the other and, if the ball ever did curl and strike, then it was the balls decision and not ours. However, we preferred the notion that there was strategy to our game and set about having in depth discussions about whether using a heavier ball or bowling slightly to the right would lead to an automatic strike. A variety of interesting bowling techniques were born of this notion, for instance; Susanne sticking her leg out like an elegant ballerina, or Marcus placing one leg behind the other, every time they threw the ball. Meanwhile, Jess calmly floated away from the scene, as if she hadn’t just bowled a perfect strike. Inge and I adopted lucky balls and ferociously fought off other bowling predators, with gnashing teeth.

Bowling balls at dawn as we battled it out for the perfect strike

Whilst I say that bowling is a magical pastime that brings people together, I cannot deny that competitive play came into our grand day out. We may have been all laughs and smiles, but when we were out there on the bowling lane it was every man for himself. This was especially true if any of us had a lucky game and entertained the thought of an overall win.

‘This is so embarrassing,’ muttered Antonia, as the ball rolled down a bunker and she scored 0, five times in a row. ‘Never mind,’ her teammates consoled her, thankful they weren’t in her position. Most were fighting fiercely to win, shouting expletives when they missed all but three pins and smiling wryly at a strike. One eye was kept firmly on the score board for that 10 point lead. I might have won the last game, but my lucky ball had conspired against me. Honestly…

We stepped back out into reality and, as our eyes readjusted to daylight after our UV overdose, we reflected on whether or not bowling was a successful teambuilding exercise. We were in high spirits, we were already recounting memorable ten-pin moments and we were giddy off sugary coca cola. We’d dropped our guards, like friends do. Isn’t that the purpose of teambuilding?

If you’re thinking about going bowling at Grand West, you might need to know…

Opening Times:
10:00-12:00, Sunday-Thursday and 10:00-01:00 Friday-Saturday.
Prices: R35 per person / per game.
Address: 1 Vanguard Drive | Goodwood| Cape Town | 0215354582

By Lisa Nevitt

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