Bowling is easy. It requires what all other activities do when you are trying to improve and that’s doing it often. I’ve participated in many different sports over my life and they are based off of how skilled I am, at whatever age I am.
- From elementary school through middle school, I enjoyed basketball. I went to all the camps and was a pretty damn good little kid (proof here). Then I got cut from the 7th grade basketball team because I hadn’t hit puberty yet and that was the end of my career.
- From middle school to high school I played a lot of baseball. I was still small for my age and had no power but we practiced a ton and I was a decent 2nd baseman.
- In high school I realized the only sport I could successfully play was Cross Country and Track and Field. I had varsity letters in 10 of the 12 seasons. Being good at running only requires doing it all the time. Ian McGrath was a good runner…
Once you get past high school you do whatever the hell you want. I’ve been golfing since the age of 12 and at various points of my life I’ve tried to develop my skills. I’ve had a few seasons where I’ve been mid 80’s consistently but have never broke through. Now I’ve pretty much reasoned that as long as I have a job, I won’t have enough time to practice golf to be a scratch golfer. Which brings me to bowling.
The “sport” that allows you to drink beer and compete. The sport that has no variation aside from the amount of oil on the lane. The sport that once you’ve done it enough, it becomes more of a mind game than a game of physicality. A sport that is easy to get better at with practice.
This is a screenshot of our team in our league (we are Snakes Strike Back):
I started competitive bowling in Jan of ’16 averaging 165-170 pins through my first 5 weeks. I’ve risen my average by 20+ pins after 8 months of bowling “seriously”. This past week I rolled the highest series of my life, 861, which is a 225+ average. I got lucky multiple times and wouldn’t expect consistent performance like this but it shows that I’ve struck a pretty high ceiling. Our team stats below:
I’d estimate that I’ve bowled at least once a week for the past 30 weeks. Now raising an average from 190 to 220 may take another year, who knows. Adjusting in bowling, and not just adjusting but knowing when and how to do it quickly, is a major skill. Throwing the ball down the lane only requires muscle memory. There is some luck involved in hitting the pins but less can go wrong when compared to other games. Watching your ball, where it strikes, and then doing it better is all you need. Once you play for 8 months straight, you start getting better at it.
Would I be making this post if I didn’t just roll a 681 series? No. Obviously you can’t claim to be good at a certain game by doing well for 1 week. However, I’ve talked with people who are good bowlers and they claim that breaking through in bowling is mainly about believing that you can break through.
So this year’s game is bowling and I’ve been enjoying it. Socializing with other bowlers, although not the most athletic or motivated crew, is fun for all. The pressure in the last frames is also a feeling you don’t get from other sports. For my early 30’s, I found a “sport” I like. It’s an old man sport.
No real point to this post other than I’ll hopefully post again when I hit a 700 series which I’m hoping won’t be a year from now.