Still the Beginning

Wednesday is not my favorite day of the week.  If fact, it’s my least favorite.  As I refer to it fairly regularly, that day smack in the middle of the workweek is Wednesdoom.  That seems to be when things go south.  At least, that’s how it feels.  So, why would I sign up for a league on a Wednesday night, then?  Nope, no logic in that.

Bowling makes Wednesdays better.  It’s something to look forward to and heading into league each week has been a mix of anxiety and anticipation.  How will my practicing translate?  Will new issues arise?  Could one of my game scores reach down towards the healthy body temperature range?  It was during these fluttering thoughts that I came to an important conclusion that had been just on the edges of my past few posts… this is still very much the beginning.

That 170 was looking more like 200+ until too pocket splits ruined it.

One year of legitimate bowling experience does not constitute “experience” in any meaningful way.  Sure, I’m much further along that I was, but when you’re walking from Seattle to New York, getting to Idaho isn’t that far in perspective.  This is an important lesson that helped me to my best night this season.  Not my best scores, necessarily, but consistent and focused in on where I am.  Not way off in the distance.

Remember Tim, you’re not bowling in the World Series of Bowling this fall… ease up, man.

Even though I had frustrating moments on my way to games of 167, 170, and 167 for a 504 series, it was generally relaxed.  I thought BEFORE I stepped onto the approach.  I had perspective on my expectations and dialed them in.  It wasn’t a series you’d write an article about (oh, wait…) but it felt relieving to me.  This is just the beginning.

A nice result of this relaxing of the nerves, is that my hand literally relaxed.  I hadn’t realized it, even through my video self-analysis and constant attention paid to my form, but I had been really, really gripping the ball.  As though I was hesitant to even let the ball go.  As Steve had taught me (and I had conveniently forgotten) if you grip the ball you have now introduced another element of timing into the swing.  If you don’t un grip the ball at just the right time at your release, all sorts of horrible will occur.  I relaxed, the ball came off my hand appropriately, and I was in a sweet groove.  Sure, I still have lots of little hiccups throughout my swing, but the release no longer felt like a jailbreak, ball escaping from the prison of my poorly positioned delivery.

Great new bowling kicks, huge upgrade!

Another aspect of this entire “beginning” thought is that I need to stop trying to help so much.  Practicing with Zak occasionally and bowling league with him every other Thursday, I’m always watching his form very closely, trying to translate my lessons to help his game.  As though I’m in any position to be coaching.  Sure, I have learned a decent amount and there are certainly things I’m not completely ignorant about, but I think that going too far with trying to help has given me a mental disorientation in terms of where I am.  In the great world of bowling, Zak and I are in the same boat, way out at sea.  We can just barely see land and maybe I’m at the front of the boat, but with years of paddling ahead of us, it’s just the beginning.  I’ll still help where I can, but I have to be balanced.

One thing that doesn’t come up a ton, is the phenomenal position that we’re in as it relates to coaching and equipment.  Shameless promotion of the greatest bowling brand on Earth (and at the least the new few closest planets) shows up, but maybe not nearly enough.  The real reason: it feels like a given.  We’re spoiled.  I don’t ever have to think about how my equipment is performing.  I have a great arsenal that can move across all sorts of conditions.  It’s a non-issue in my game because of the superb quality of the Roto Grip balls and Storm accessories I’m using.  On top of that, Super Steve is tapped into the game like an evil scientist and to have even a minutia of his influence on my game has been priceless.  Even if I may make him cringe when he sees the state of my form.

Now, time for some fun for you.  If you’ve made it through my endless ramblings, there’s now something in it for you.  For the next three weeks, both Zak and I will be giving away free Roto Grip bags.  Each week, each of us will randomly select someone from the comments on our posts.  Two winners each week, so six bags overall.  We’ll kick it off next week, so I guess your “something” isn’t here yet.  Stay tuned for more ramblings and the chance to get a new home for your arsenal.

Stay out of the gutter.