And just like that, league season is done. I finished up my second, spring league on Monday and now I have nothing but warm days and happiness ahead of me. Wasn’t exactly a happy matter the last few weeks of bowling. Though, it was a phenomenal learning experience and capped off a great experience over the past nine months.
This final week was just a “fun” week on the lanes and that gave me the chance to try 8-pin tap for the first time. Wait, I get a strike even if I only knock down EIGHT pins? How sweet is that? I mean, my first-ball average is over eight pins so I should be golden. Not exactly… I managed a ton of sevens. Seemed fitting. I defeated myself again. However, this time I had a really great time doing it. I didn’t think too much and even if the pins didn’t fall I was still enjoying myself. When the pins had settled, I only worked my way into a 599 series, despite the no-tap. Eh, not a big fan of that way of playing. If I’m going to bowl, I might as well aim for all ten (or maybe I should be thinking 11 and then I’ll get more 10s…).
The prior Monday, the last real week of league action, was the least fun I’ve ever had bowling. Nothing felt right and it was just an awkward display on the lanes. My ball had another two miles per hour on it and since I don’t have many revs to begin with, it wasn’t coming back. So, I switched from the Outlaw to the Defiant to get some more teeth and moved right. Basically down and in. That helped some, but even when I was striking it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like me.
At the end of the night, after a lot of frustration that eventually boiled over into resignation, a fairly modest 504 (180-144-180) sat on the screen. Now horrible, all things considered. I remember when reaching the 500s was a GREAT night. I was done bowling but my mood improved dramatically with that perspective. You have to remember where you’re from to know where you’re going. I knew I wasn’t going to become a 200 average bowler overnight.
Driving home (back to this Monday), I reflected on the past nine months. Was a real “bowler” born after those nine months? Did I accomplish what I had set out to do? I think I really had. While I didn’t grab a lot of glory as it would be defined my most people, I can look back through my stats and bring back memories of my lessons with Steve and my first taste of the USBC Open Championships and feel some pride inside. I wasn’t anything close to a legitimate bowler at the beginning and now I have the equipment, the coaching, and the experience to take my game further next season. I think my body took a lot of tear through all those games and practice sessions and it needs a good rest. But, mostly, I need to let my mind catch up with everything I’ve learned and experienced.
I have so much more knowledge now but my body still doesn’t always listen. That’s where the frustration and the poor outings come from. My form is two steps behind where my head things it should be and it’s been driving me nuts. After a month or two of letting the dust settle in my gray matter, I really think I am ready to push into respectable territory and make those dreams become reality.
The greatest gift I take away from this season is the people, though. It’s so easy to talk about the bowling side of things, but when it comes to real value within the bowling world, you have to look to the great, passionate people behind it. Everyone at Roto Grip and Storm are phenomenal. They are some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve met whether at work or personally. Matt, Roger, Chris, and the whole gang have been super supportive and their awesomeness can not be overstated. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me and the friendship that continues.
Also, all the friends I have made through blog comments, Facebook, and Twitter. John, Dan, Alan, Rob, Matt, and everyone. I appreciate all the comments, discussion, and help that you’ve given. What you’ve shared and the kindness you’ve shown has been great and I look forward to continuing our friendships. You have all shown that bowlers are genuine, real people that truly love the game. That type of passion and drive makes others want to work that much harder and is what keeps the game going. Oh, and you’re mad skills on the lanes.
I’ve crawled out of the gutter and I’m still still chasing glory… but for now, I’m hanging up my sliding shoes for a few weeks and taking in some summer sun. Until the ball starts rolling again, take care.