When someone plans a bowling trip, I get excited. Bowling is ridiculous, it is an easy activity and done with the right people, it is loads of fun. My level of excitement is unnecessarily high. I talk about bowling the week leading up to the trip. I remember all of the good times I had bowling with friends in the past. I plan what outfit I will wear to make the most of the black lights. I get really excited about bowling. I get to the bowling alley, don my exceptionally tiny shoes, and pick a silly nickname. It’s almost time to bowl. I pick up a ball, and at the height of my anticipation, I roll it down the lane. It knocks down two pins. No big deal, I think. It’s just my first ball; I’m still getting warmed up. I pick up the second ball, roll it down the lane. Gutter ball. It is at this point in the evening, that I realize something.

I hate bowling.

I always have hated bowling. I don’t care who I am with, what I am wearing, or how many ridiculous 80s music videos they play at the alley, I will always hate bowling. I am not good at it. I find it incredibly frustrating. It makes my body hurt. I am both too little and too big to play ten pin (big balls that fit my fingers are too heavy to lift, little balls that are easier to lift are too small for my fingers). Five pin requires more aim. I have very poor aim. It’s a lose-lose situation.

I hate bowling. I hate the activity, but I also hate the feeling I’m left with after I’m done bowling. I am so excited to bowl and the anticipation is almost overwhelming. I am excited to start, but then I’m horribly let down. Something that I thought was going to be so super fantastic wasn’t really anything I had hoped for.

I have bowling days. I have bowling weeks.

I get really excited. I make wonderful plans and get really excited. I am bubbling with anticipation for days and sometimes weeks. This is going to be marvelous, I can just feel it. It is going to be fun, it is going to be worth it, it is going to be bright neon pink and  fantastic.

But what if it isn’t? What if that thing that I am planning, anticipating, ends up being a big let down? It suddenly feels like bowling. And I don’t like bowling. I find it frustrating. I don’t find it satisfying. I don’t like getting excited, and then being let down. I really don’t like bowling.

So now what? I can’t keep getting excited, then disappointed, but I don’t want to stop being excited for things that I should be excited about either. I need to learn to deal with the possibility of disappointment. Not everything will turn out perfectly. I won’t knock down every single pin, but I do need to start cheering for every pin that I do knock down (even if it is entirely by accident). I need to learn to make bowling fun again. I can’t get so frustrated. It’s only bowling. I need to learn to anticipate, but roll with it when my plans don’t match the outcome. They are only my plans after all, and I already know how my plans seem to work out.

So the solution? Go bowling. Get excited to bowl. Roll some balls down the lane. Laugh when I get a gutter ball. Celebrate when I knock a few pins down. Complain a little bit. Wear funny shoes. Kick up a small fuss. Laugh a lot. Be a tiny bit stubborn. Pull my socks up really high. I don’t need to love bowling, but I do need to start enjoying it. All of it: the excitement, the anticipation, and the possible disappointment, and the small victories.


Who wants to go bowling?

14 thoughts on “Bowling

  1. We are totally going bowling if/when you ever come through Nashville. I have an awesome, fairly lightweight, yellow Tweety Bird ball with smallish fingers (I have freakishly small hands for a dude) that I think would work amazingly for you. Except for the fact that I bowl left-handed and that’s how the holes are cut…

    Hmmmm…How do you feel about karaoke?

  2. I’m the exact opposite with bowling. I’m not very good at it, but usually if I go, I end up having fun. The problem is that for some reason I assume I *won’t* have fun, so I have to remind myself that I’ve actually enjoyed it in the past.

    Of course, a lot of it depends on the people you’re with. Even better if you can convince people to mix things up — first frame with your opposite hand, next frame through the legs, etc.

    Anyway, your post has some good thoughts about bowling and beyond. :)

  3. I’m forever jealous that you have the option of ten-pin or five-pin bowling. Five-pin is SO MUCH BETTER than ten-pin, but it doesn’t exist here. I guess it’s not too bad for me since Windsor is only an hour away, but…come on. Send it over the border already.

  4. I also hate bowling. I hate things I’m not better than everyone else at doing. I can’t throw the ball hard enough to knock all the pins down, even if it’s on the right trajectory. Everything just kind of lightly nudges one another, like they’re at a crowded party.

    BUT bowling alley food is soso delicious. In that greasy processed cheese sort of way.

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