Strike! Bowling + Life Parallels: Episodes 12 & 13
When Mary Ann first embarked on the path to becoming a “respectable” bowler, she dove in with enthusiasm and fortitude. Nothing, and no one would stand in her way. What she did not expect was the complexity of planning, thought and strategy that were part of this sport she previously gave little or no thought to, and if she had, surely would have viewed it as mindless but fun. Also, taking her by surprise were the generosity of the people she met, and the life lessons she learned along the way. Join Mary Ann on her meaningful, and at times extremely funny journey.
Episodes 12 & 13: Things are Looking Up.
Episode 12: Better Scores and Life Lessons
And then just like that, 130s, 140s, my scores were going up again. The wall came down the night I had three slices of perfectly microwaved bacon before I got to the alley. So bacon was my secret weapon! And not that supposedly healthier kind of faux bacon, this was real bacon, fat and all. Or was it Rob, insisting I use the ten-pounder the whole session? “You’re killing your scores using a light ball. You should be using at least a ten pound ball.” Or was it that I was so tired of doing poorly that I didn’t even think about it anymore and just bowled? At any rate, I was back in the saddle. If we don’t give up, we are generally more resilient and more able to bounce back than we give ourselves credit for, lesson learned.
Around about this time, I found a new way to make Rob wish he had never run into me. It was an old alley, he was the one and only repair guy and sometimes things just didn’t work right. One night I rolled the ball, hit the pins, the pins reset but the ball didn’t come back. Maybe it’s just stuck, I thought, and I rolled another one. Same thing, no ball came back. Again and again and endlessly I tried until I ran out of light enough balls to use, you know, ones I could actually manage to roll without breaking my arm. I finally had to signal to Rob to come over and I told him my ball didn’t come back. He practically snarled at me and as he went to check on what had gone wrong, I heard him mutter under his breath, “If she doesn’t stop using those kids’ balls...” When he came back from fixing the problem, he was laughing at me. “I found twelve balls stuck down there! What did you think you were doing?!” “Well, I thought if I kept rolling them, eventually they would all get unstuck.” I’m not quite sure what his response was because he walked away rolling his eyes and muttering under his breath again.
The next week I almost wished I had never run into him. Do you know anything about gout? Well I didn’t...that is until Rob proceeded to tell me more than I would ever want to know. He was actually suffering--really suffering-- from it. “Too much steak,” he told me. “Well stop eating it,” I told him. He then proceeded to banish me to use the lane by the wall. Never mess with an ex-pro, another lesson learned.
Episode 13. More Lessons.
As fast as the good days had become all bad, the bad days became all good again. My personal scoring records were being crushed by my renaissance. I was getting scores in the 150s and 160s somewhat frequently and Rob was waiting for me to finally break 200 one night. It was all fun again! You know sometimes we take to heart everyone’s good intentions to help us snap out of a bad spell, we try to remember everything they say, we try everything they suggest, all until we start talking to ourselves and spiraling all the more down the drain. I think that was part of my problem, looking back now. I wanted things fixed, and fast, and I was willing to try anything to get it fixed. However, I learned it is generally far better to take a step back, breathe and just be patient until you are sure, before you change everything up. When things are a mess, the answer sometimes in fact lies in sticking with what got you there, and staying the course. That’s probably true about a lot of things, not just bowling.
There would be only one more competition before the teams were done. Our company’s sale would be consummated in a few months and then we would all have to go our separate ways. It was a sad time, but even if we were to try as we could, there was no holding on to what was. At times like these, I always seem to remember what someone told me one time. I had said that good things don’t last forever. And he replied, but bad things don’t last forever either. Oh, if we would remember that during our struggles. Easier said than done for sure.
The all-you-can-bowl night when I hit 164 (Yes, can you believe it? I felt like I had finally begun to arrive!), I used the ten-pounder the whole time. Rob had walked over with a ten-pounder and put it in my hands. He then explained for the tenth time why a heavier ball was better and how the throws are truer and how I should stick with it. I was feeling good again, so I thought why not just do what the poor guy says for once. Through all this ten-pound versus seven-pound dilemma, I now realize that sometimes being stubborn is just plain stupid. And that doesn’t just go for bowling, another lesson learned.