My mom was an avid bowler when I was growing up. I spent a lot of time watching and learning from her techniques. When I was 6, I decided I wanted to bowl too, so she put me on a kid’s league where I learned the basics. By the end of the program I ended up with a bowling pin for my Christmas tree and my very own eight pound ball.
I was on leagues all the way up through middle school with people much older than me and I usually kept up. Then I got to high school and started focusing more on soccer, boys and ‘being cool,’ which meant bowling went down the tubes. So when my co-workers asked if I liked to bowl, without missing a beat I said, “hell yes I like to bowl!” and signed up as a part time member.
I showed up all excited, ready to rock….and ended up bowling worse than I ever had in my life. I started out with a 111 average and was barely hitting it. I made myself out to look like this pretty decent bowler (hey, my highest game is a 217 dammit!) and I just sucked. I called my mom for counseling and she gave me tips, but nothing was working. I was about ready to tell my co-workers to count me out because I was seriously bringing them down.
I decided not to get worried about my scores this time. Everyone pretty much thought I sucked anyway, so they really weren’t expecting much from me. But I got on the line, found my sweet spot and banged them out like Ron Jeremy. (Uh did I just make a porno joke? Yeah, I did.)
First game, 120….ehhh not bad but the best start I’ve had so far.
Second game, 157. Hey, nice job!
Third game…170. I was so excited I nearly split my pants. Seriously.
My mom told me she has a book about bowling being a mental game which really made me think…aren’t all sports mental? Instead of going into the bowling alley today thinking, “I’m a good bowler and I should bowl well,” I went in thinking, “Well they all think I suck, we’re in last place, so really, who gives a damn?” And I rocked it.
It’s all about the mental game. But really, isn’t it always?