Alley Cats Strike (2000) Script

I guess you wouldn't know it from what I wear, but my name is Alex.

I live in the metropolis of West Appleton.

It's a nice town and I've got great friends here.

That's Ken, Elisa, Delia, and me, coming out of Nancy's old-fashioned diner.

There's Ken, the music guru. He loves all kinds of tunes, as long as they're at least 50 years old.

This is the very stylish Elisa, queen of the poodle skirt and bobby socks.

But don't let those clothes fool you, she's a great bowler.

Last, but not least, is Delia.

She makes up in brains what she lacks in bowling brawn.

After breakfast, we head down to my dad's bowling alley.

I've got the keys to the joint.

So, in the morning, we crank up those swinging tunes and roll a few frames to start our day. Sweet, huh?

I love the smell of rental shoes in the morning.

This is the way the world should be all the time.

-(ALL CHEERING) -(BAND PLAYING MUSIC)

But then there's school.

-You see Todd McLemore? -(HOOTING)

You know, the one with the winning smile.

This is his world, the world of serious athletics.

The world I'll never understand.

And you gotta figure it's always gonna be that way.

The biggest thing in Todd's charmed life right now is a big hunk of metal called the Mighty Apple trophy.

Which is only interesting to me because it slightly resembles a bowling ball.

If McLemore can lead the mighty West Appletonians to victory in basketball, we will tie up the fight for the Mighty Apple.

(ALL CHEERING RAUCOUSLY)

It's simple.

We win tonight, and the battle for the Mighty Apple is all tied up.

(ALL CHEERING)

But if we lose tonight, the trophy goes to East Appleton forever.

What do y'all think of that?

(ALL BOOING, SCATTING)

But we are gonna win tonight and tie up the battle for the Apple!

What do you say to that?

(ALL CHEERING)

Ten-to-one odds, the golden boy blesses us with a speech.

I don't know, Alex. A spotlight. People cheering.

I thought the golden boy hated attention.

All right! We're gonna win tonight!

I promise, I won't let you down. So, see you all at the game.

ALEX: How would Todd McLemore's world and mine ever collide?

I just don't see it.

I'm gonna be late tonight.

I gotta go to the game with my dad, or I'll be disowned.

But I'll sneak away early.

We'll be waiting, Slim.

Hey, it's the strange dudes.

Yeah, it's the strange dudes.

Hey, you coming to the game, strange dudes?

Why would you want us to take up seats when there are so many people who really, really wanna go?

Where's your school spirit?

Mine's in a box in my locker. Where's yours?

Wouldn't you like to know?

Come on, guys. Don't waste your breath.

Too cool for us, huh?

Maybe I should whup you in some basketball to show you a thing or two, huh?

Excuse me. You, me, one game of horse.

-(SCOFFS) You're kidding, right? -I arc my jumpers at 48 degrees, launched with 14 pounds of force.

I bank most of my shots off the backboard using the simple formula of tangent-x times cosine-y, where x and y relate to the height and angle of my initial shot.

Using the backboard as a matrix, of course.

And if you accept my challenge, Mr. Smart-mouth, you would lose to a little girl. Am I right?

ALL: You're right.

Come on, Leo. It's not worth your time. Come on.

-I could beat her. I could, you know. -I know. I know.

Delia, have you ever shot a basketball?

-Wouldn't you like to know? -(ALL SNIGGER)

-(AUDIENCE CHEERING) -ANNOUNCER: Ball inbounds to McLemore.

McLemore bringing it up court, between the lanes, dribble over half court, into the high post!

Giving the goal to McLemore! Oh, my! Easy deuce for McLemore!

That's my boy!

ANNOUNCER: There is no bigger fan in the stands than his proud father, West Appleton mayor, Jeff McLemore.

He's coming back. Perimeter passing. Round the outside.

Shot's no good.

McLemore coming back with the ball.

Going in for the hoop.

(CHEERING INTENSIFIES)

Easy lay-up for Todd McLemore!

Folks, Todd McLemore is playing huge for the Wildcats today.

McLemore with a steal!

Driving to the hoop, and he lays it up for a bucket of West Apples.

Oh, my!

ALEX: Sweet Lou is the heart and soul of Appleton sports.

This guy could get excited over a spitting contest, as long as the East and West were involved.

SWEET LOU: This place is going crazy! East Appleton back now!

East just in with two points now! West bringing the ball back!

-(BLOWS WHISTLE) -(BUZZER SOUNDS)

-(BAND PLAYING MUSIC) -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)

Wow! Halftime here, and folks, and I can just feel the thrill!

I know you can feel it where you are, too.

How could you not be excited with West Appleton fighting for the Mighty Apple one last time?

I love it! A West win tonight, of course, ties up the battle with no more scheduled events.

There are tie-breaking procedures in the Mighty Apple charter, but since there's never been a tie, I've got no idea what they are.

And if the West doesn't win, I'll never know.

Going into halftime, and West Appleton trails by six.

This is Sweet Lou on WWAP...

Mr. Thompson, do you think you could turn that off now?

Come on. Give an old man his town spirit.

Well, in that case...

(SIGHS IN EXASPERATION)

Blessed quiet. Now I can bowl.

That remains to be seen.

Nice shot.

Come on, Alex. I wanna practice on getting strikes, not spares.

Ten in a row is enough.

Fair enough. I'll press the reset button.

(MECHANISM JARS)

Dad? The reset button's broken again.

Oh, what, again?

Well, there's no money in the repair fund, Alex.

Better work your magic back there.

You think we get no crowds 'cause the alley's falling apart?

Or is the alley falling apart 'cause we get no crowds?

I don't know, pal.

(PINBALL MACHINE BEEPING)

I'm wide open on ideas to get the folks in here, but until that happens, your mechanical genius is what we need.

Hey, Cool Cats, what's happening?

Oh, hey! Thought for a second we might've had a paying customer.

You kidding, Mr. T? Everybody's at the game.

Oh.

Would you put this in? It helps me bowl.

"Swinging Hep Cats."

All right, who are you kids? Where do you come from?

-(BAND PLAYING MUSIC) -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)

-(WHISTLE BLOWS, BUZZER SOUNDS) -Wow! West Appleton time out!

East Appleton leads by one point with three seconds left!

Have mercy, I beg ya!

Wow! West is gonna get the ball with time for one last shot.

Now, you gotta think that Todd McLemore is gonna get the ball, but the East has gotta be thinking that, too.

All right, now they're gonna have you triple-teamed, Todd, -so we should think about someone else... -Give me the ball.

-I'll be open, though. -Give me the ball.

Hello, Mayor McLemore.

Mayor Hanburger.

Looks like the Mighty Apple's coming home to me and East Appleton.

Yeah, well, don't be so sure.

Stop being an optimistic parent for a second and look at the scoreboard.

Well, Todd thrives under the pressure.

(BUZZER SOUNDS)

-All right, one, two, three. West! -ALL: West!

Come on, team!

SWEET LOU: All comes down to this, folks. Unbelievable!

Heads up out there!

SWEET LOU: The ball goes in to Flip Willett!

Willett bringing it up court!

McLemore cutting in off a pick, takes the ball, jumps! Shoots!

-(BUZZER SOUNDS) -(AUDIENCE CHEERING RAUCOUSLY)

West Appleton wins!

-West Appleton wins! -(BAND PLAYING MUSIC)

The grapple for the Mighty Apple is all tied up!

(SWEET LOU EXCLAIMING EXCITEDLY) Oh, wow!

This place is absolute pandemonium!

(SWING MUSIC PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

Yes! West Appleton wins!

Guys, West Appleton wins!

Yippee.

Oh, guys, come on.

Guys, this is the last year of the Mighty Apple.

We want to keep it in this town, right?

Right? I mean, it's the glue that binds us West Appletonians together.

Yes, it does.

It's a silly trophy, Dad.

Oh, yeah, I know, but, I mean, it has meaning.

I mean, it proves that we can all... All strive for what we want, right?

Huh? I mean, it proves that we can all... All unite for a common good.

Oh, my gosh, my heart.

(SIGHS IN RELIEF)

I mean, I played for it. I was proud.

(LAUGHS)

Oh, boy.

(SWING MUSIC RESUMES PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

Well, anything that makes a big shot out of a kid like Todd McLemore is not a good thing at all.

I know. I just don't know why everyone cares so much about it.

Talk to my dad and you'll understand. He played for that trophy.

He reminds me about it every day.

Twice a day, whether I need to hear it or not.

The Mighty Apple is ugly.

Okay, guys, one more game. Winner pays.

But you always win, and your dad doesn't charge you.

Nice arrangement, huh?

Well, it's all tied up, Jeff. Fun, huh?

We'll check the charter for the tiebreaker tomorrow, Mayor, but the momentum is ours.

(BOTH LAUGHING)

He knows something. I can tell.

-Hey. -Now, that was a fantastic finish, huh?

Sweet Lou wants to interview you tomorrow, and I've set up a meeting with Appleton News again. It'll be just like when you won the baseball championship with that homer!

(CHUCKLES)

Maybe I'll call around and see if we can get some regional coverage.

Whatever, but let's go home. I'm beat.

Oh, I am so proud of you!

Thanks, Mom.

ALEX: Last ball in the tenth frame, and Alex Thompson needs a strike to win the U.S. Bowling Open.

Good release, steady and true.

Yes!

See? I can make the big shot, too.

Maybe you'll turn pro one day.

Nah. Not interested. Thanks.

Come on, champ. Let's go home.

ALEX: I got my love of bowling from my dad, but sometimes love and money don't go hand-in-hand.

I would be really sad if we had to close the place.

Nobody seems to want to bowl anymore.

Hey, what's up?

-BOY 1: Right on, baby. -BOY 2: All right, Bro.

-What's up? -GIRL: All right, Todd.

Come on, it was nothing. It was nothing.

All right. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Hey, Todd. You were so great last night.

We've been talking about you all day.

Yeah?

So, are you coming to my party?

-Wouldn't miss it. -We'll be there.

No doubt, man.

Great. See you there?

Definitely.

Oh, Mr. Morris.

So, what's gonna happen to the Mighty Apple since we ended up tied?

We're not gonna be tied for long.

Are they finally gonna throw out the girls' cross-country score?

Those slimy East Appleton people. They called, they spoke.

And what did they say?

Bowling.

(BELL RINGING)

(MOUTHS) Bowling?

Can't get away with this. We'll sue the East! We'll sue them!

PRINCIPAL MORRIS: It's only a trophy, Jeff.

After all of Todd's hard work this year, we're gonna lose the Mighty Apple because of bowling? I can't allow it!

You saw the charter. Both schools have bowling clubs.

And bowling is the only tiebreaker listed where we both have teams.

We have no choice.

All right, we'll hold tryouts. We'll load the team with talent.

No tryouts. We have to field our team based on who signed up for bowling club

-at the beginning of the year. -(GROANS)

On the plus side, we won the coin toss, so we get home alley advantage.

Anyway, maybe the team will be good.

Oh, yeah, right. Think of our alley.

Think of Kevin Thompson, for Pete's sake. Then ask yourself, what type of losers are members of the bowling club?

(GROANS IN DISGUST)

Why does it matter who else signed up for bowling club?

We're the only ones who ever show up.

The club list is here somewhere.

You guys don't think we can beat the East.

Is that what's going on?

We never said that. We simply wish to explore and find out all the options.

Mr. Morris, we're good.

Hurrah, hurrah, and yay!

(CHUCKLES JUBILANTLY)

There's a fifth bowler.

Todd McLemore is on the list.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Yippee! Hooray!

Golden boy's in the bowling club?

I'm in bowling club?

You signed up at the beginning of the year, Todd.

Have you forgotten?

I'm in bowling club?

This is fantastic and good news.

Maybe, we can beat East Appleton after all, huh?

I'm in bowling club?

Flip made me sign you up, man. He made me.

It was Leo's idea. Honest.

(GRUNTS ANGRILY)

You know, this is great news, Alex.

This is not great news.

Well, your mom and her dad think it is.

You know, Grandpa might be out of the hospital in time for them both to make it back for the match.

Plus, it could be big things for the alley here.

But I like bowling 'cause it isn't the next big thing.

Never has been and never will be.

When I was your age, bowling was the thing to do.

It's only cool to you now, my friend, 'cause it was cool to us then.

I guess so. If it's good for the alley, then fine.

Sweet Lou back on the air here at WWAP with Todd McLemore.

Todd, it appears you have no time to rest on your laurels.

The Mighty Apple is gonna go to the town whose school bowls best.

I've led our school to victories in basketball, baseball, tennis, football, and track. I don't see why bowling will be any different.

(CHUCKLES) Okay, spoken like a true competitor.

But let me ask you, can you bowl? Do you bowl? Have you bowled?

Come on, Sweet Lou, everyone bowls. I can do this. Trust me.

Good job, Alex.

Another one? (SCOFFS) You've gotta be kidding me.

Alex is pretty good there, Jeff. Think your son can keep up?

Oh, we McLemores have a long history of rising to the challenge.

Unlike some people I know, Mr. Oops-I-dropped-the-ball.

It was a bad throw.

ALEX: Do you know what they're talking about?

I don't. Every time my dad and the mayor get together, I get a weird vibe.

Like something major happened to the two in the past.

But you can't ask them what happened. They never want to talk about it.

Oh, well, anyway...

Come on, Todd. Show us what you got.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Way to go, Todd!

(LAUGHING)

I guess our principal is easily impressed.

Yeah.

Hey, you guys bowl strikes every time?

No, we're not that good.

I didn't think so.

Ten frames with all strikes is a perfect game.

It's pretty rare, like hitting three homers in a baseball game.

That's it? By the time we're done, I guarantee you, I'll have bowled a 100.

ELISA: Whoo!

(ALL LAUGHING)

ALEX: Yeah, 100.

Hey, don't laugh at me! You know I'm gonna be that good.

A perfect game is a 300, slick, not 100.

-That's like hitting a single. -But you just said...

Look, a strike scores 10 plus the next two balls you roll.

So, you could score 30 points, see? Think baseball, three strikes.

A spare is 10 plus the next ball you roll.

So if I said, "Hey, you got a spare ball." Strike three, spare two.

That's how come 100 is nothing too special. Got it?

Whatever! I just need some practice.

Well, things are going well.

He has no form, no style.

I think he was nervous. Just give him a chance.

Yeah, like he'll give us one.

-Hi. -Hey, my favorite customers.

Hey, Nancy, can we get the usual?

I'm way ahead of you.

Come on, eat up. You're gonna need your strength to win the Mighty Apple.

Well, I thought the golden boy only mattered.

That's what everybody else is saying.

Yeah, well, some people say that, and some people say the moon's made of cheese.

It doesn't make it true.

The moon's not made of cheese?

Yeah, well, it just goes to show you, you can learn something new from everyone.

(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

-Hey, good afternoon, ladies. -GIRL: All right, Todd.

Hey, Todd.

Hey, Todd. You know that Alex kid? What's with those clothes?

I heard he found them at the back of a bowling alley.

Yeah? Well, I hear he's a great bowler. Is that true?

Hey, bowling is not so hard, okay? Just leave it alone.

What are you gonna do? You gonna quit?

Quit? (LAUGHS)

No way. If we lose this, nothing else matters.

So, I'm gonna teach those guys how to bowl and triumph.

But it'll still be bowling.

Hey, I'm gonna work on that. But I promise you, I'm gonna win us the Apple.

Of course.

So, the Mighty Apple's fate is up to us.

(CHUCKLES) You gotta admit, it's pretty funny.

No kidding.

Maybe this will make people care for bowling enough to save the alley.

Yeah. I hope so. I mean, sometimes I think the only reason your dad keeps it open is because you, me, Ken, and Delia love bowling so much.

Don't let him fool you. He loves it, too.

He's got me and Mom to think about.

And he's gonna sell the alley unless, you know...

Man, I'm already nervous.

I mean, we're bowling for the Mighty Apple.

Mighty Apple, Schmighty Apple.

How can it not be fun if we're bowling together?

Yeah, that's true. I mean, we'll probably be talking about it forever.

We'll be legends.

At least to each other, anyway.

(BOTH CHUCKLE)

-Yeah. -Yeah!

All right, yeah, that is gonna be cool, man.

-Yeah. -Yeah!

-All right, guys, I'm going. -Later, man.

-Later, Leo. Later, Flip. -See ya.

Evening, Dad.

So, Todd, how's the bowling team?

Better now that I'm on it.

Well, Todd, everything's gonna change next year when our schools combine with East Appleton.

Whoever wins the Mighty Apple this year will keep it forever.

Yeah, I know.

I've already cleared a place out for it in City Hall. It's our legacy.

What do you want me to say, Dad? Do I ever let you down?

(SIGHS IN RELIEF) No, son, you don't.

(DIALING)

Yeah, Mayor Hanburger?

Jeff McLemore here. Yeah.

You want to make this bowling match a little more interesting?

Well, if you win, we'll give you 40 gallons of our best apple cider.

Yeah, the pride of West Appleton.

And if we win, you give us 40 East Appleton apple pies. Deal?

Great! I can taste those pies already.

Uh-huh. Bye.

The Apple is coming to the West.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

Yeah! That's the way!

The Apple is coming to the East.

Yeah, great strike. Yeah! Let's go!

(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

LAUREN: Hey, Todd.

Hey, Lauren.

So, how's the bowling thing going?

Okay.

I hear Alex is a really good bowler.

Maybe, the two of you could win us the Apple?

Maybe, but I tell you what, my teammates don't care about the Apple.

(SCOFFS) They don't care about winning.

That's 'cause they've never been winners.

You got that right.

I'm sure you'll teach them, Todd.

(LATIN MUSIC PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

Oh, missed it by that much.

Great torque, though.

Great torque, Todd.

(SCOFFS)

I think you're doing better.

Soon you'll learn you don't have to throw the ball so hard.

It took me a long time to learn that.

I just need practice. I told you guys.

Well, maybe you'll see that the ball follows your thumb.

If it's pointing straight after you let go of the ball, the ball's going straight.

Whatever.

See ya.

She was trying to teach you, you know.

Duh. You think I'm an idiot?

Nah. You're the golden boy. Smart, talented, and perfect.

Uh, gifted, too. You forgot gifted.

Actually, the way I hear it, you're Mark McGwire, John Elway, and Michael Jordan all rolled into one.

You forgot Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky.

But you're no Guppy Troup.

Guppy Troup?

He's in the Professional Bowlers Hall of Fame.

Anyway, the way I hear it, you're the best bowler in the town.

The town, the county, and the entire country.

Yeah, I heard that one, too.

-Is that true? -Not yet.

But then again, I bet it took Guppy a little time to learn to swim.

You know what I hear?

I hear you're just this strange kid who's obsessed with bowling, hates all other sports, and dresses like you found your...

Like I found my clothes in the back of the bowling alley.

-Yeah, I heard that one, too. -Is it true?

Look, I love bowling.

I don't like many other sports, and it's a lie that I found my clothes in the back of the bowling alley.

That's a lie?

Yeah. I found my clothes in a catalog that I found at the back of the bowling alley.

(SCOFFS) Whatever.

(SWING MUSIC PLAYING OVER RADIO)

Oh, sweet. Check out those shoes.

ELISA: Maybe we can find 'em when we go thrifting.

What's with that music?

That's good music.

Haven't you ever heard of Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden, Aerosmith?

Haven't you ever heard of Keely Smith, Louis Prima, Sergio Mendes?

(SCOFFS) So, why are we having practice here?

-Come here. Just take a look. -(LAPTOP BEEPS)

I'm real impressed. Computer bowling? Wow!

Strength plus finesse beats sheer speed every time.

You know, you could learn something from that.

It's a computer, guys. It's not real.

Hello, people? Don't you know that we have less than four weeks to be ready to beat East Appleton?

Are you saying we need work, or you saying you need work?

Oh, I'll be ready. I'm just worried about you guys.

You guys need an attitude check.

We need one?

TODD: Yeah. You gotta wanna win.

I'm not seeing that. It can give your team the advantage.

You know, I always thought that bowling well gives your team the advantage.

Hey, funny guy.

Yeah?

Attitude matters.

Now, I'm sure the East is doing everything they can to get an edge.

An edge? Slick, this is bowling. What can they do?

(SIGHS IN EXASPERATION)

Hi there, Coach. Welcome!

ALEX: Hey, Todd, wait up.

I've been watching you bowl, and I think I can help you.

It's up to you if you wanna listen.

Really? And what's in it for you?

Are you joking? I thought you might wanna win.

And, I don't know, maybe if you get excited, other people will, too, and my dad can save his alley.

Look, teach me how to bowl, and I'll bring you to Lauren's party tonight.

(SIGHS) Look, I don't need pity or party invites.

If you want me to help you bowl, just ask. We're teammates, right?

Forget about it, man. I thought you might have fun.

Hey, Todd. Hey...

Um, Alex, right?

You're coming to my party, right?

Uh-huh.

Alex?

Thanks, Lauren. I'd love to.

Great. So, I'll see you guys there?

Mm-hmm.

So, you wanna learn to bowl?

You're just loving this, aren't you?

Fine. Let's try it.

Step one. It's you.

Dork?

Dirk.

Same thing. Why do you guys dress so weird?

We don't dress weird. You guys dress weird.

Whatever! I'm not wearing that.

You failed lesson one.

I don't care. Can we bowl, please?

Tomorrow. There's a big party tonight.

(UPBEAT POP MUSIC PLAYING)

Hey, Todd. I'm so glad you're here.

Hi, Alex.

We're gonna whip East Appleton's butts, aren't we?

-(CHUCKLES) -Well...

Of course, we are. You know, Todd's on the case.

(SIGHS) I hope he helps us win the Apple, Todd.

He sure doesn't fit the part.

Well, who knows? Maybe it'll do Alex some good hanging with us.

(HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYING)

Come on.

So, having fun?

-Oh, sure. -All right!

Todd says you're the best bowler in town. Is that true?

(STAMMERS) Uh, maybe.

And you're gonna make East Appleton look like a bunch of losers, aren't you?

Uh, no question.

-(GRUNTS) -You're all right.

(ALL LAUGHING)

-Good to have Bubba on your side. -No.

Todd says the Mighty Apple is up to the two of you.

If you both do well, you're gonna be heroes.

Todd would know. He already is a hero.

You wanna dance, Todd?

I'll dance.

Nah. Maybe later.

Do you want to dance, Alex?

Oh, I don't really know how to dance to this.

I'll dance.

Whoa! Look at the time.

I gotta go.

Come on, it's 8:30.

Next time, okay?

Thanks for inviting me to your party, Lauren.

Friends of Todd's are always welcome.

Yeah?

Yeah.

Good night, bowling dude.

Let's dance.


Hey, what are you doing here?

Uh, you know, late errands and stuff.

Okay, that's not exactly true. I went to Lauren's party.

Cheerleader? Todd's friend?

(LAUGHING)

Oh, my gosh. Wait a second.

So you and the golden boy were at the same party.

Did you know any of the other people there?

Not really, unless you count Flip and Leo as real people.

I'm not gonna lose you to that whole crowd, am I?

Don't sweat it. It was just one party.

Hey, what you got there?

Two-twenty? That's fantastic!

Thanks. I was gonna pin it to your front door.

I'm sorry I missed it.

Hey, I promise I'll be there when you bowl 300.

Deal.

All right.


You got talent, but your footwork's terrible.

(SCOFFS) Like that matters.

You're right. I don't know what I'm saying. Keep doing it your way.

Well, actually, if you keep doing it your way, you're gonna end up with mediocre scores and a bad bowling back.

Keep at it, though. You're a natural.

(CHUCKLES) Thanks.

(CHUCKLES)

Way to boost his ego, Dad.

I thought you were on my side.

Alex, I am on your side.

(BOWLING PINS FALL)

And Todd's on your side, too.

You gotta remember, you're fighting for the Mighty Apple.

Hello, Dropsy. Watching Todd prepare to bring the Apple back to West Appleton?

Something you certainly never accomplished.

Well, right back at you there, error boy.

Hello, gang. Todd.

We just set the rules with the East.

It's a four-on-four match, one game per person.

Add up the score, and the highest total score wins.

You can also add a substitute player on the bench for the current player at any time.

And like a pinch hitter, sub's in for good.

This is a miracle. I don't have to bowl.

No way. The day before the game, we should all bowl.

Four highest scores get to play.

Hey, she doesn't wanna bowl.

-Uh, for once, I agree with Todd. -Yeah.

Smart kid. I also spoke with Mayor Hanburger of the East, and we've made a new little wager.

You're betting on us?

When East Appleton loses, they will have to proclaim it West Appleton Day, and hold a parade in our honor.

And what if we lose?

What type of attitude is that?

Wait. Wait a minute here.

Isn't it enough just to win the Apple?

I mean, do we need to put more pressure on these kids?

Look, when you got someone like Todd to lead you to victory, you gotta take advantage of it. It's a golden opportunity.

What was with your dad, Alex? He seemed pretty tense.

I have no idea. Todd?

Who knows?

Well, I got homework to do. What are you guys gonna do?

I'm gonna go see East Appleton's bowling team.

Why? What they do doesn't affect what we do.

There's no offense and defense in bowling.

But don't you wanna know if we can beat them?

What good will it do to know in advance?

Hey, maybe we can relax, because maybe they stink.

East Appleton suggested bowling. We know they don't stink.

Whatever. Look, I'm going home to get my bike.

Join me if you guys want to be smart.

See you, guys. Hey, Todd, wait up.

Alex?

Bye.

What?

-DELIA: Whatever. -ELISA: What's up with that?


Oh, wow!

Look at this place.

It's just bigger, that's all.

Still, it's pretty impressive.

Yeah, well, at least the Big Apple lanes have character.

Character? That's what you want to call it.

What? They've got the Nagurski twins, who whomped all over us in football, Baron McKay, star of the basketball team, and Katie Tanner from the tennis team.

We're in so much trouble.

Oh, nicely done.

You're really coming along.

Some of us still need a little work.

Whipshaw McGraw.

Who's Whipshaw McGraw?

PBA tour pro. Two-time U.S. Open champion.

Wait, I thought that was tennis.

Now remember, consistency is the key.

Practice your approach over and over, and you'll be ready for the big match.

I promise you.

Thanks for coming, Whipshaw.

Sure thing, cousin. I'm just glad I had a few days off from the tour.

(CHUCKLING) I'll see you later.

TODD: We don't stand a chance.

They were all right.

All right? They're like machines. They're perfect.

Don't give up on the Mighty Apple just yet.

They won't bowl strikes every time.

Watch them with me. You'll see.

No, I've seen enough.

ALEX: Suit yourself.

Well, what do we have here?

Hi. (LAUGHS NERVOUSLY) I was just leaving.

I don't like spies. You like spies, Baron?

Spying? You didn't think I was, you know...

Hey! There you are, you loser.

Well, well, if it isn't McLemore. We hear you're Mr. Bowling now.

I told you not to come here.

Where's your sense of sportsmanship, man?

But I came here with you.

That a fact, McLemore?

Me? Hanging with this guy? Guess again, boys.

You gonna take care of him?

Oh, don't you worry about it.

I'll make sure this punk doesn't bother you again.

What are you doing? This was all your idea.

(LAUGHING) Let's get out of here.

I knew what you were doing all along.

Oh, yeah, right. You're a horrible actor, then.

Me? Look who's talking.

Unless you were acting when you thought we'd lose to the East.

Well, then, I guess you were pretty good, too, then.

(SCOFFS) Oh, get over it.

They were pretty good, weren't they?

Look. Meet me at the alley tomorrow morning.

I'll teach you how to bowl, with style. Then you won't be too scared of them.

Me? You were the scared one.

You actually thought I was mad at you, didn't you?

-ALEX: No. -Yes, you did. Admit it.

DELIA: Hey, Todd.

Man, it's early. What am I doing here?

Gotta move, gotta jive.

What the heck does that mean?

That's what we're doing today, Todd.

Yep. Time to get in the zone.

Hey.

Delia isn't using her lane today. Why don't you come over and join us?

All right, let's get going. I know the drill.

No, Slick. You know form, but you don't know style.

ELISA: That's what you're gonna learn.

Delia, hit it.

(RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE PLAYING)


(CHUCKLES)

(GRUNTS)

Well, your music is weird, but I think you can really turn this into something.

What do you mean?

Well, if you want people to come bowling, you gotta make it more fun till they get hooked.

This was fun. Sell it.

There's nothing to sell.

Sure there is. Make it a party.

Dancing, food, a light show, cool tunes, and bowling.

Once a week. Make the alley the place to be.

We do it soon, while everyone's got bowling on their minds.

Now you're thinking. Every week, a big party.

It won't work.

Trust me. The place doesn't even fill up on league nights.

It'll work. I guarantee it.

Yeah, Alex. Maybe we can save the alley.

I don't know. Maybe.

Now, what do we call it?

Lane Dance?

Alley Bash?

(CLEARS THROAT)

The Bowling Ball?

Yeah.

Nice.

Todd, we don't exactly have money to buy supplies or anything.

So, why exactly are we going shopping?

We're not exactly going shopping.

We're... Just let me handle it.

But shouldn't you be practicing, anyway?

I'm getting better. You said so.

Yeah, you're coming along.

Ha, ha, ha! Todd, Alex. The whole town is counting on you two. Are you ready?

Hey, we are so ready, sir.

Attaboy!

The match is in two weeks. You said you were worried about the East.

Yeah, but you gotta wanna win, man, and you gotta show it.

That's how leaders work.

You shouldn't be worried. You got a gift, man.

All you have to do is try and use it.

Yeah. I guess I can do that.

Now you're talking like a guy I like. Come on.

Now, watch and learn.

Good afternoon, Ms. Johnson.

Well, hello, Todd. Getting ready to trounce the East?

Absolutely! And the thing is, I got this project in mind, but I've got no cash...

But I thought maybe you could help.

Help you, Todd? It would be my pleasure.

(BOTH CHUCKLE)'

(PINBALL MACHINE BEEPING)

Hey, guys.

-Hey, Dad. -What do you got? What is all this?

This is town spirit. We got paint, silly string, and a whole lot of lights.

People just gave it to us.

They gave it to you? (CHUCKLES) Well, great.

I'll get Sweet Lou to mention them all on the air.

He owes me. Plus, I plan on getting a sound system and maybe some lasers.

'Cause if I'm inviting my friends, this place has got to rock.

Well, come on, we have more work to do.

Hey, give me a sec.

All right, I'll see you outside.

-Thanks. -TODD: You're welcome.

(CHUCKLES)

I don't know, Dad. It's gonna change the place.

It won't be real bowling anymore.

Alex, we talked about this, right?

I mean, this place has got to change.

Sit down.

You know what I did today?

I got my real estate license. Yeah.

But I had to start drafting up a listing on this place.

You know how that made me feel? Bad.

But I don't know. All this stuff you guys are doing here, maybe it'll help.

But we're trying to change the alley into something totally different.

It won't be our own special place anymore.

KEVIN: No, it'll always be your own special place.

But, Alex, we have to take care of the business side.

I mean, that's just the way life is.

Anyway, maybe you'll find out that, you know, different isn't necessarily bad. It's just, you know, it's just different.

You know, seeing you and Todd together makes me kind of flash back to when I was your age.

Why?

Well, because Jeff McLemore and I used to be best friends.

No way! You and the mayor?

Yeah, me and the mayor.

And we fought for the Mighty Apple.

I gotta tell you something, there is nothing that we would love more than to see our kids bring it back here to the West.

But that was a long time ago.

We've got to focus on saving this place, right?

'Cause I want to keep it badly.

So, here's the plan, you go on out there with your buddies, and like Todd said, you make this place rock.

You got it, Dad.

Okay.

Come on, Todd. Let's get to work.

-Man, what if no one comes? -(LAUGHING)

-They'll come. -(CHUCKLES)

You know your dad and my dad used to be, like, best friends?

Get out of here. You're lying.

I'm not.

Forget about it. We need to get some flyers printed.

Like we got the paint?

Exactly.

Hey, come bowl next Friday. Spread the word.

You're gonna be there, right?

Hey, come bowling next Friday!

Bowling! Come bowling with us!

Bowling!

Hey, come bowling next Friday!

You'll be there?

-Hey, Lauren! -Hey.

You're coming bowling next Friday, right?

Of course, I'll be there, Todd.

All right, I'll see you there.

Come bowling next Friday.

Flip, you know you want to do this, man.

Yeah, man. I'm all over it.

There you go, there you go.

All right. Hey, come bowling next Friday.

Todd, my man!

Bowling dude!

And you're coming bowling next Friday, right, Bubba? There'll be food.

-Food? -Food.

-Yeah. -(LAUGHS)

-Sold. -All right.

Hey, Bubba, help us spread the word. No one's gonna wanna miss this.

-All right. -All right.

Hey, come bowling next Friday.

Yee-haw! (MIMICS GUNSHOT)

You are getting pretty darn good.

Practice and talent. It's an awesome combination.

Try the split. It's rigged to set up only the seven-ten split.

Two pins? Easy.

Now, Alex, watch and learn.

(SCOFFS) Easy, huh? Try again.

Yes!

All right, wise guy.

Dang!

Try again.


Oh, man.

-Harder than it looks? -(SIGHS)

Yeah, but in a match, I'll make it. I thrive on the pressure.

So I've heard.

The reset's broken again. Be back in a minute. Take a break.

Again?

That is so funny.

Oh, nice of you to join us.

You spend the next four years straight in here, and you'll have practiced as much as we have, then we'll talk.

Man, Alex is the only one of you guys who has the right attitude.

The rest of you don't care at all.

Where do you come off telling us how we feel?

You think you know everything about us.

You think you know everything about everything.

I know how to win!

And I know how to bowl!

It's not enough.

Well, then let me tell you something else.

My entire life, my father has wanted me to play sports.

"You could be a star," he tells me. "You've got the talent," he says.

But you know what? I have fun bowling, and I don't like other sports.

Now, all of a sudden, bowling means everything to our town.

And you think I don't care? Think again, golden boy.

That's more like it.

You gotta know that it's okay to aim high, and it's okay to show it.

Show it like you do? I'll pass.

Fighting like cats and dogs is not gonna make the next ten days real pleasant.

Am I right?

(SIGHS)

"You're right," say the cool cats.

"You're right," says the hot dog.

All right, then. One more game.

Three low scores buy the high score dinner.

-But you always get the high score. -And I'm mighty hungry.

Hey, what's up?

Man, it's like we're not invisible anymore.

We've got the Mighty Apple glow.

Come on. Let's go.

Hey, Todd. Good news.

Your dad's got you and Alex on with Sweet Lou tonight.

Sweet Lou?

Excellent!

We told Sweet Lou you're the captain of the team. Just so you know.

Todd, that's not fair. We should vote on our own captain.

Well, Sweet Lou's expecting me.

Look, why don't you guys vote on a co-captain?

It's you, Alex, as long as you promise to come by the diner tonight and tell us all about it.

I promise, if you guys promise to listen.

Duh!

Hey, do you guys think you'll call me, "O Captain! My Captain"?

ELISA: In your dreams.

Good afternoon! This is Sweet Lou back on WWAP.

Joining me in the studio today, I have the captain of the bowling team, Todd McLemore, and his co-captain, Alex Thompson.

Now, let me ask you guys the one question that all of West Appleton wants to have answered.

It's a simple one. Will you win? Alex?

Well, this is gonna be the best bowling match West Appleton's ever seen.

And our team's awfully good. Trust me.

Hey! And if you don't trust him, then trust me.

You know I won't steer you wrong. (LAUGHS)

All right! Let's go to the phones You're on the air on WWAP, where West Appleton plays.

WOMAN: I'm calling from Tony's Lasagna Heaven.

We have just one more thing to say, we love you guys!

-West Appleton! -Yeah!

(BOTH CHEERING, LAUGHING)

This is the best. We're famous!

Welcome to my world.

Hey, I'm getting together with Flip, Lauren, and the gang. You should come.

-I'm so there. -(LAUGHING)

I guess he must have gotten hung up.

I'll walk you guys home. Good night, Nancy.

NANCY: Good night.

Wait.

(ALL CHEERING RAUCOUSLY)


(PINS FALLING)

Just don't think so much. Just bowl.

Don't you know what's riding on this? I can't afford to choke.

You're not gonna choke, Alex.

You promise?

I promise. Of course, you promised last night.

I'm sorry. Now, can we please drop it?

Guys, come on. Hate to do this, but I gotta get you all to work now. Come on.

Let's turn this place into Bowling Ball Hall!


ALEX: This is so cool, Dad. Look what we've done.

So, this is what the place looked like in the glory days?

Well, yeah, there was not as many fancy lights and more customers, but, yeah, buddy, this place used to be something to see.

At least if we gotta sell, we'll go out looking good, huh?

(SWING MUSIC PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

Maybe it'll work.

Well, either way, the place has been good to us, Alex.

You grew up here, and I got to watch, and that makes me a pretty lucky guy.

Either way, though, splits or strikes, we're gonna be okay.

I gotta tell you something, though.

(CHUCKLES) I really hope this works.

I gotta go get changed.

Hey, tonight, don't worry about the alley, all right?

Just be one of the guys, be one of the gang, and just have fun, okay?

All right, Dad. I'll be back in a minute.

-(ALL EXCLAIMING IN AWE) -KEVIN: Huh?

What do you think?

It's gonna be cool, Mr. T. We're even gonna pay for our own games.

You know what? I'm gonna let you.

Don't be charging us for those back games now.

-TODD: Wow! -Whoo!

Wait, this music's gonna chase people away.

Swing music sets the mood.

Yeah, the mood of misery maybe.

Hey, Mr. T, put this in. I guarantee ya. Ka-ching!

-"Ka-ching"? -Uh-huh.

All right.

(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

Hi.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Hi, guys. How you doing?

I've never seen anything like this.

I wish Alex was here. Where do you think he is?

Oh, man, look at golden boy.

(ALL CHEERING)

Yeah!

(ALL CHEERING)

Please!

Hey, gather 'round, everyone! Gather 'round!

Yeah, welcome to the first weekly Bowling Ball! Having fun?

-Yeah! -(ALL CHEERING)

Okay, well, the fun's about to get even better.

Not only will you find me and my partner, Alex Thompson, on lane 8, demonstrating how we're gonna thrash East Appleton...

(ALL CHEERING)

But we'll be doing it with a little bit of extreme style.

So let's give it up for my partner, Alex Thompson!

-(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING) -(ALL CHEERING)

TODD: Yeah! All right, Alex!

All right, Alex!

Yeah! Let me hear you scream!

(CHEERING INTENSIFIES)

Did you see Alex?

-Yeah! -TODD: Whoo!

How uncool is this?

I am so bummed!

All right! Let's rock!

Good! Whoo!


Hey! You guys having fun?

-Oh, yeah! Whoo! -We're great.

And the crowd.

-Great crowd. -Big crowd.

It's not too bad, although I wish we got to pick the music.

Come on, guys! This place is rockin'!

BUBBA: Get over here, bowling dude!

Catch up with you later.

-Bowling dude? -I don't wanna talk about it.

Bowling dude?

(PINS FALLING)

LAUREN: That was a blast. I never knew this place could be so cool.

LEO: Yeah, the place for sure, but some of the people? I'm so sick of that Alex kid.

FLIP: I know, once a geek, always a geek.

After the Apple, things will be back to normal.

You don't have to hang out with him, you know?

So, stop complaining.

FLIP: Yeah, I guess it's worth it if we win, but I still don't have to like him.


(SIGHS HEAVILY)

Uh, what did I say, Mr. T?

This is one successful night.

I betcha people come back here all the time now.

Hey! Good night, Alex!

Yeah, uh, I'll see you at practice.

Hey, Todd, thanks for your help.

-TODD: No problem. -Good night.

Dad, did you see Elisa and them leave?

Yeah, they left about an hour ago. Why?

No reason. Just wondering, that's all.

Man, I hate this Mighty Apple stuff.

Really? I thought you were kinda liking it a little bit.

I don't know. It just makes everything so different.

Well, it can make some things different, but it doesn't have to make you different.


(GROANS)

Hey! Maybe you should try bowling without the shades.

ALEX: Now you're teaching me how to bowl?

No, I'm teaching you how not to bowl.

-Alex, why don't you try... -Try the left spin. Yeah, I know, Del.

I didn't suddenly get stupid.

Hoorah! Yes! I'm the man. If I can't do it, no one can.

A-ha!

Two seventeen! Now, this is bowling!

I hate to admit it, but I'm impressed. I never thought you could do that.

You wanna know the truth? Me, neither!

Hey, but you always said that...

(SHUSHES)

For crying out loud!

Hey, team! Ready to whip the Wolfpack?

Hey! You betcha!

Okay, bowlers, listen up.

Now it's time for us to show that the time you've spent here has been time we took the time to notice.

Of course, we want you to win, but most of all, we want you to represent us Wildcats well.

Don't be silly. We want you to win. (LAUGHS)

Okay! So, here you go!

Your new uniforms.

Doesn't it make you proud to wear the school colors, huh?

Ew, these uniforms are ugly.

Fashion emergency!

Nothing that says West Appleton Wildcats can be ugly, young lady.

And, hey, now we're a team for sure.

-Well, I'm psyched. -Bring on the East!

You tell 'em, son.

Keep those balls rolling!

Hey, Dad, you back there?

-Hey, pal. -These uniforms stink!

Hold it up. Let me see.

Yeah, it's nothing special, is it?

ELISA: Wait. Tell it to me again. Your dad said what?

If we win, the new school will be called West Appleton Junior High, and if we lose, it'll be called East Appleton Junior High.

Wait. So, now it's the Mighty Apple and the school?

Look, don't wimp out on me, guys. We're so close. We're so good.

ALEX: Oh, that was it.

That was the final straw.

My old friends hate me. My new friends aren't my friends at all.

All this just isn't any fun anymore.

Look at this! They bet a school on us, and they give us a piece of junk!

All they care about is winning.

They don't understand bowling, and they don't understand us.

Alex, no one understands us.

This is bogus! I'm so outta here.

-What do you mean? -What do you think I mean? I quit.

No way! You can't quit. You can't leave me now!

Watch me.

Alex, you can't quit now.

We're too far into this thing. The team needs you!

We are not having a good day.

-(GROANS) What a loser! -Not a loser. This isn't the real Alex.

Of course, you must know that, now that you're his best bud.

(SIGHS) At least there's still four of us.

Four? Me? Bowl?

(GROANS)

ALL: Delia.

Just trying to lighten the mood.

-Did you talk to him? -I tried. He's not listening.

So, uh, where's that Thompson kid?

Ah, Alex isn't feeling well.

Well, son, you still ready to lead the team to victory?

Actually, sir, we're gonna let Todd bowl for all of us.

That way he can lead and follow.

Well, Todd's been through the fires before.

He's a leader, natural-born.

He's kept us all together, that's for sure.

Never steered any of us wrong.

I rest my case.

(CHUCKLES)

I'm so nervous.

Don't be. You're all good. You're all really good.

But these uniforms are a fashion disaster.

Look, we have fun, we do the best we can. That's all we can do.

Just doesn't seem like it's enough.

Sometimes it isn't enough.

(SLOW MUSIC PLAYING OVER RADIO)

This is so unlike Alex.

Been so unlike himself for a while now.

I miss him.

Nancy, I'm getting another soda.

NANCY: Go right ahead.

Can I join you?

Where's your fan club?

(SCOFFS)

I left them at the "Todd is King" rally my dad is hosting.

Are you looking for sympathy?

(SIGHS)

You don't like to lose, do you?

I can't lose. It's not allowed.

Look, I just came here 'cause I wanted to...

You know.

No, I don't know.

Elisa, you can bowl the worst game of your life tomorrow, a five maybe, or a 10, but, at the end of the day, your friends wouldn't care, (CHUCKLES) and that is just so cool.

I wanna win, you know. We all do.

It's nice having people look at us. Actually at us, not past us.

People will always look at you after this, win or lose.

No. People will always look at you and blame us for the loss or say we were carried by you to a win.

Look, forget about the game.

What I'm saying is that eventually people will see you because you're there, and you're real.

That's all that counts.

Maybe.

Definitely. Trust me on this one.

(SCOFFS) You should go talk to Alex.

I don't think he wants to talk to me.

Well, you should try, anyway.

Yeah.

Yeah.

You know, I got something for you.

But you're right. I should go talk to Alex first.

Golden boy is human?

-(LAUGHS) -All right.

(DOORBELL RINGS)

Hey, what do you want?

I'm sorry everything got so messed up, you know?

That's all I can say. (SIGHS)

Right. Probably wasn't even your fault.

You know, I never thought I'd actually like you.

(SCOFFS) I never thought I'd like bowling.

All I thought about was winning.

I always wanted to win, too. We all did, really.

We just didn't care the same way you did.

I know that now, dummy. That's what I'm saying.

You're not me. You're not the same as me.

No.

You know what the big difference is?

Hair color?

(CHUCKLES) Yeah.

I play every sport I can.

But I'm not there because I have fun.

I'm there because that's what I do, and I'm good at it.

Sure, sometimes it's a blast, but that's not why I'm there.

Bowling was fun.

Bowling still is fun, Alex.

Tomorrow, let's forget about the big stakes.

Let's just go out there and bowl.

If we win, great, and if not, well, we'll have fun, and we'll try.

(LAUGHS)

But I want you there.

If I've chased you away, I'm not gonna have any fun at all, and I really wanna have fun.

Look...

It's yours whether or not you play.

"Tex"?

You look like a Tex. (CHUCKLES)

It's our new uniforms.

And I think I'm gonna be Dirk.

(LAUGHING)

Just promise me something, the next time you bowl, whenever it is, just have fun again.

Good night, Dirk.

Good night, Tex!

Hey.

Thought I heard voices.

Nah. It's just me.

(GRUNTS)

Just got off the phone with Mom.

She and Grandpa are coming back tomorrow night.

They said they miss you.

(BOTH LAUGH)

And I miss bowling.

You know, the way it used to be.

You know, Jeff McLemore and I used to play second base and shortstop on the school baseball team.

Bottom of the ninth against East Appleton, we mess up a double play.

He says that I dropped the ball, and I say that he made a bad throw, but we lost the game.

Later on in the year, we lose the Apple, and we decided it was because of that missed double play.

It became a huge thing between us.

We stopped having fun together, and we stopped being friends.

We claimed that the Mighty Apple changed us.

Of course, it wasn't really the Apple, it was, uh... It was just us.

Letting that happen was the stupidest thing either one of us has ever done.

You lock up when you come in?

-Yeah? -Yeah.

Okay. Good night, buddy.

(PLAYING MUSIC)

(CHEERING)

Let's go, guys! (WHISTLES)

Surprise! We're back.

-Hey! (LAUGHING) -Oh!

-Oh, guys, you made it. -Oh, my gosh.

-It's good to see you. -Hiya, Grandpa.

-How ya feeling? -Nice to see you. Great.

-Good. -Oh, look at this place.

He's coming.

Elisa, he's not coming.

Yes, he's coming.

Well, he better hurry.

Oh, Hanburger, the school is ours.

(CHUCKLES) You dream.

The Apple and the school belong to the East.

-We'll see. -Yes, we will.

(ALL CHEERING)

MAYOR MCLEMORE: Thank you, thank you.

Welcome to the Big Apple Lanes, the pride of West Appleton.

(ALL CHEERING)

Now, on behalf of my colleague, Mayor Hanburger, we welcome you to the last event in the history of the Mighty Apple.

Winner take all.

(ALL CHEERING RAUCOUSLY)

Man! There's a lot of people in there.

Ain't it great?

And now, for the last time ever, Mayor Hanburger and I will unveil the Mighty Apple.

(ALL CHEERING)

It's a beauty, and tonight, we'll know where it resides for all eternity.

We certainly will.

And now, without any further ado, let's bring out our teams.

Representing East Appleton, our pride and joy, the bowling Wolfpack!

(ALL CHEERING)

(ALL BOOING)

Booing in a bowling alley?

ELISA: Look at all those cameras.

DELIA: Why would anyone wanna take a picture of this?

Because our uniforms are so darn cool!

-Alex! -Alex!

I'm sorry. Let's have some fun! Yeah!

And, you all, let's win tonight! Whoo!

-ALEX: All right. -Yeah.

SWEET LOU: And here comes the pride of the West, today sporting the name the Alley Cats. Spunky, yes?

(ALL CHEERING)

There's Todd McLemore looking confident, as one would expect.

GIRL: Let's go, Alley Cats!

-(AUDIENCE CHEERING) -Whoo!

SWEET LOU: For those of you listening at home, let me tell you what the rules are.

They're simple.

Each squad starts with four bowlers.

At any point in time in a bowler's game, a substitution can be made, and that bowler finishes the game.

You're going down.

It's bowling, Slick. Mellow out.

Mellow out? The attitude of a true loser.

SWEET LOU: And I don't think we're gonna be seeing much in the way of substitutions, even though both teams have a sub on the bench.

But there is always that chance.

Anyways, you add up the total of the four games, and that's your total.

The team with the highest total wins.

It's simple.

Not really head-to-head, but still head-to-head.

Oh, my! Nobody told me that bowling could be so exciting.

(BLOWS WHISTLE)

SWEET LOU: Here comes the coin toss.

Heads.

-We'll go second. -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)

SWEET LOU: East Appleton is gonna get the game going.

Our gang from the West is gonna start with Ken Long, followed by Elisa Bowers, Alex Thompson, and batting cleanup, for want of a better term, Todd McLemore.

Oh, my, the tension's so high, I can feel my spleen pounding.

Bobby Nagurski, star of the East, is preparing to bowl.

(AUDIENCE CHEERING)

-(AUDIENCE CHEERING) -It's a tie game.

That's my boy! Whoo!

That's my boy! Go, Ken, baby!

SWEET LOU: Oh, my, ladies and gentlemen, it's clear already, this is going to be one fine bowling match!

(UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING)

(ALL CHEERING)

Yeah!

Yeah!

After bowling three frames each, we have a tie ball game.

Yeah!

(CHEERING CONTINUES)

Yeah!

(ALL CHEERING)

SWEET LOU: Here we are at the seventh-frame stretch, and East Appleton is leading by 15.

This game is closer than my shave this morning!

(ALL CHEERING)

Yeah!

-(ALL CHEERING) -(SWEET LOU LAUGHING HEARTILY)

I am breathless, my friends.

Entering into the tenth frame, and East Appleton leads, but the West is working on more marks.

They could catch up, and dare I even dream it, win the Mighty Apple!

Okay, if I get three strikes, we tie.

Baron isn't working on a mark, so the highest he could get is 30 points.

Todd, you're working on a strike.

You can top 30 in a heartbeat. All you need is a strike or a spare...

-Not a problem. -Exactly!

Three strikes, Alex?

So not a problem. Right.

-All right, Tex! Go get 'em! -Come on, Alex. Come on, Alex! Whoo!

MAN: All right, Wildcats!

-SWEET LOU: Strike one! -Yeah!

(ALL CHEERING)

SWEET LOU: I am sweating bullets, folks.

So, if I short out, it's been good knowing you.

Should I, you know, curve one in or put one right up the middle?

I think you should not mess around.

Come on. How about one between my legs?

Alex, there's fun, and then there's torture.

-Go bowl. -Yeah, go, go!

-ALEX: All right, all right. -ELISA: Come on, Alex!

DELIA: Come on, Alex! Whoo!

-(ALL CHEERING) -Yes!

All right! And the West is still alive.

ALL: (CHANTING) If he can't do it, no one can. Go, Alex!

(ALL CHEERING)

Oh, this is not a bad way to live.

SWEET LOU: Last ball. Frame 10. Alex Thompson.

(ALL CHEERING)

Strike three! Strike three!

Oh, my goodness!

East's last bowler needs three strikes to keep the lead.

(ALL CHEERING)

SWEET LOU: East Appleton leads by nine pins.

Todd McLemore, the West's last bowler, only needs a spare to win the Mighty Apple.

Who else would you rather have in this situation?

I know this is the wrong time to say this, but I shouldn't have gone last.

It's all right. Todd, man, you can do it.

It's child's play, man. A spare, and that's it.

SWEET LOU: Todd McLemore needs at least a spare to give West Appleton the victory.

(ALL GROANING)

SWEET LOU: Oh, bummer for the West!

Todd McLemore launches a perfect ball, but is denied.

Now he has a seven-ten split.

And he has to make this spare, or the Apple goes home with the dreaded Wolfpack.

I think I'm having liver failure!

It was a perfect ball.

You've bowled the best game of your life under this pressure, Todd.

But I can't make this shot, and we're gonna lose.

No, we're not.

I can make this shot.

You can make this shot?

(SCOFFS) Yep.

ALEX: Todd, they want you!

You can make this shot?

Oh, yeah.

Then we're gonna take that substitution.

Referee.

Leap out of your chairs, folks!

We are seeing history.

Todd McLemore has removed himself from this game.

-(ALL GROANING) -What's happening here?

What are you doing, Todd?

It’s okay, Dad.

You get back in there.

-No, Dad. -I'm ordering you, son.

You're our best hope to win.

Why? Because you want me to be?

It doesn't work that way, Dad.

Sometimes I'm not the best, and you gotta let that be okay.

Now why don't you go back over there and cheer for our team, Dad?

Not just for me.

Come on, Delia, you got this cold.

-Come on, Del. Come on. -Yes!

Come on, let's go.

(ALL MURMURING)


(BALL ROLLING AWAY)

SWEET LOU: It's moving.

Have mercy. That ball is moving.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

SWEET LOU: I am having an apoplexy here, folks.

If there's a doctor out there listening, come on down here and help me.

You'll be here before the ball hits the pins!


You have done this before, haven't you?

Wouldn't you like to know?


Almost there.

ALEX: Hold everything.

Now remember, I'm the one who cares about the fun of bowling.

I'm not into competition.

But did I care if Delia made that spare, thereby winning the Mighty Apple for West Appleton?

Did I care?

Did I ever!

Well, what do you know?

-SWEET LOU: Spare! Spare! -(ALL CHEERING RAUCOUSLY)

West Appleton wins! West Appleton wins!

Whoo!

You're right! Bowling is still fun. Thank you.

No, thank you for everything.

You were great! You were great!

-I love ya, Alex! -ALEX: I love you, too, Mom!

Yes!

-You did it! You did it! -We did it, Dad.

(GRUNTS ANGRILY, CLEARS THROAT)

Listen, uh, I'm sorry.

I always thought you liked all the attention.

I forgot about all the pressure.

You know what I learned, Dad?

I learned that sports can be fun, not just an intense, gotta-win game.

I mean, I still want to win, but I really like this having fun business.

I know. I'm sorry.

It should always be fun.

It's just that you're so special, and I want the best for you so badly.

-I'm so proud of you. -Thanks, Dad.

I'm proud of all of you.

(ALL CHEERING)

-The Apple is ours! -Yes!

The school is ours! The West lives on!

Wait, Dad, it's not about ego.

I mean, you didn't play, we did, so we should get to decide what's what.

You don't want the school to be West Appleton Junior High?

You really think someone should lose their identity over something as fun as bowling?

I don't.

Well, Mayor, you won.

No, uh, the team won.

Same thing.

And, um, well, we're not gonna name the school.

You're not?

Yes, we are.

-You are? -Yeah.

We're gonna name it Appleton Central.

I love it.

-Yeah, I like it. -It rocks!

Yes!

Hey, you know what this place needs?

A little fun.

A little music.

And a lot of style.

(RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE PLAYING)


(ALL CHEERING)

ALEX: Now admit it, you didn't see it coming, either.

Just like me and everyone else in West Appleton, you thought the golden boy and the retro kid

-would always be worlds apart. -(ALL CHEERING)

This just goes to show you, you can always find some common ground if you look hard enough.

Okay, maybe not on the dance floor, but, hey, there's always bowling.

Sometimes worlds do collide.

So, if you have a beef with someone who's completely different from you, I say settle it.

Settle it in the alley.