reggie_miller_chokeLast night I pulled a choke in the last frame of a bowling match that was unthinkable. I’m talking 99%. Vegas would have won billions by all the people who would have been looking to make easy money. Before I tell the tale, I want to preface it with a post idea I was going to write about the evening before I bowled.

On Monday night I rolled a 580 series which was the high of my life. The lanes at South Bowl are consistent and I actually started to feel like I was becoming a better bowler. This in tune with some of the other events of my life had me thinking that I was really starting to excel in various areas not only dedicated to sports. I felt like when I was performing virtually any task, even one as simple as an interaction with another person, better than “normal” because my experience in general life was making me better at it. This had me thinking that I was going to write a post about how the older you get, the better you get. What happened last night happened for a reason. A humbling reason.

3 5 8

3 5 8

It was the 10th frame and our team was down by 20 or so pins and I was coming off a mark so it was even less. It was me against the Big Cheeese and he elected to go first. He threw a ball that left 2 pins in the center of the lane and I threw a ball that missed the pocket to leave the 3 pins which I think were the 3,5,8. Big Cheese missed his shot and it was up to me. I rolled a nice ball that midway down the lane I could tell was going to pick it up. It did.┬áThat brought the team score to 627 to 628. I needed 2 pins to win. I probably wouldn’t be writing this post if the outcome was different but the reality was I picked up 1 single pin to tie and we lost in the tiebreaker.┬áTo give some thought into how it happened I will do with pleasure.

7edb6546219ea8514f68bf2f8271bc86I’ve been the anchor for months now and have had mixed results. Last week I needed 7 in the 10th and rolled a strike. I’ve lost to some better bowlers but have pretty much held my own. I’d give my win loss in the 10th at 65/35. There were definitely times where pressure got to me and I rolled a shitty shot. However, in recent times after going through that feeling on multiple occasions, I was getting better at just rolling a good ball. I take us back to last night where all I had to do was hit 1 pin and realized where I went wrong. My first thought was that I couldn’t possibly lose unless I threw the ball in the gutter which was only possible on the right side. This was a mistake because it’s a type of shot that I virtually never throw on my first ball. I had full confidence and didn’t think about the shot much because there was no way to fuck it up. I stayed so far out of the right hand side that the ball hit the little oil in the middle of the lane and started curling immediately where the lane had no oil to the left. I watched in horror as it dinked the 7 pin.

I learned a few ideas last night though that will make me better for it. As a metaphor for life, you can’t think something is a guarantee. It promotes a cocky mindset and when you roll a 1 in the 10th, you know there is room for improvement. As much embarrassment as there is when 40 (39+Steve) people watch you roll a 1, it makes you a better bowler and hungrier to improve. This is another learning experience and after getting through not feeling pressure to roll in the 10th, I learned that although you can’t overthink shots, you also can’t under think shots.