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Bowling Life Lessons

I sucked, at bowling. It’s confirmed.

We had a work event last Wednesday evening that gathered almost a hundred of us together for a game of bowling.

Since the merging of the whole engineering department at the place I worked, I figured the main objective was intended for teambuilding and getting to know those who worked in the other product lines at our manufacturing company.

Then, there’s also the fun of trying out a new game and assessing if we are any good at it.

Due to our numbers, we basically took up the whole bowling alley and everyone was placed in groups of four people, with two sessions of bowling for each of us.

Off we go, after some practice rounds, the games started.

Although this was not my first time bowling, I struggled.

I had no strategy, other than to keep the ball away from rolling into the gutters on both sides of the bowling lane.

I failed this, on quite a number of occasions in my game.

I was clearly inconsistent. On some rounds, my ball managed to remain in the center and hit down a few pins at the end, and on my other turns, they were gutter balls.

I figured that I should throw the ball as close to the ground as possible so that it had less room for error in terms of its trajectory, having it land quickly and following the direction my arm threw it.

I also convinced myself not to be self-conscious, and not to be nervous about what others thought of my clearly amateur way of bowling.

I selected heavier balls (for my small frame of 5 ft 2), in the ranges of 13–14 kilograms, thinking they would carry more momentum for the ball and avoid it flying too fast in the wrong direction.

All that self-talk and strategy didn’t work. 

So I tried, ‘not thinking’ and just throwing, following some natural muscle memory (although I had no muscle memory to speak of for this sport). Be impulsive, just go with it, throw, and let’s see where the ball goes.

In the gutter, again.

My head said straight, but my arm swung slightly to the left. Gutter ball.

I tried to compensate for my body’s tendency to throw left by shifting myself to the right.

Well, that didn’t work as well. 

I realized then something about myself.

All my internal strategies and thoughts couldn’t translate to the physical movement of my body.

I may have all the internal will to perform an act in a certain directed action, but the body did not execute it.

This may be one differentiator between a natural athlete and one who tries to train to become one. 

Natural talent is a big factor when it comes to sports. 

And I clearly didn’t have any natural talent for bowling.

My last score was a measly 59 points, and I ended the night with a simple dinner and a slightly insecure feeling about my own capabilities. 

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