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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14492
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: 275...Not 300...Only 275 Reply with quote

It was about 5 years ago, or thereabout, that I was involved in a weekly bowling league. I've been bowling off and on my entire life. My uncle Wayne was a PBA member; he was an amazing bowler, I learned a lot from him.

At the time of this story, I was carrying a 185-205 average, but more than often, I was consistently averaging 190, not good enough to earn the coveted PBA membership; a 200 average is required over an entire season or two of league bowling.

One night, the miracle almost happened. Game one, I bowled 198. Game three, I bowled a dismal 136, but that was due to my shot and spent nerves in the 10th frame of game 2.

I bowled one strike after another strike...frame after frame I mowed through the pocket with a loud crash as the pins went everywhere. I was consistent in my approach, in my release, in my follow through, and in my spot placements. I was on fire!!

At the end of the 9th frame, I still hadn't truly realized that I was on the doorstep of bowling a 300 game; a game of perfection, 12 strikes in all. I was talking with several casually between frames, not noticing what I was about to achieve. Not until a very close friend of mine pointed out to me as I was walking back for the 10th frame.

I turned back to him after I had looked up to the score, and I just said to him..."Oh crap...I didn't even notice...until now." I walked up to the ball rack and I did my usual rituals before stepping out onto the lane. Just before I picked up my ball, I turned and noticed that no one person in our league was bowling...not one. It's a sign of respect for the bowler who's on the cuspid of a 300 game.

The house is a large house but that particular night our league was at the very south end of the house, so, even though the house was loud with other leagues, the air became still...silent...and this was not good for me. I even encouraged them to return to their bowling so that the air of normalcy could resume; to calm down my raging nerves. But, to honor me, they didn't return to their bowling.

All eyes were fixed upon me...to either see me reach the rare 300 or to see me fail...I had a 50/50 chance. I took a deep breathe to relax myself, picked up my ball, stepped on my starting spot, assumed my ready position and then...I couldn't remember which foot to start off with. Two...three...four times I started my approach, to only stop after one step because I felt as though I was pushing away with the wrong foot.

Finally, Tom, my friend, came over to me to find out what's wrong..."I can't remember with foot to start with, I'm drawing blanks." Tom helped me through that moment, and it seemed like I was standing there for days, and Tom said something as only he could say, and I laughed and collected myself.

One more deep breathe, and off I went. I hit my spot on the lane, my form was flawless, and the ball approached the pocket dead center...and...WHAM...I left a solid 10 pin...NNnnnnooooooo!! I feel fainted...NO!! Everyone breathed out a collective audible sigh..."NO/Aahhh". They applauded, yet they remained behind me. I picked up the spare. Threw the next ball...AND...WHAM...I left another solid 10 pin. I choked, and I choked when I shouldn't have. The pressure was far more than I could overcome!

In my MA journey I've been tested, and I've been through many trials and tribulations, but let me tell you this...I never experienced that until the 10th frame. I suppose that's what separates me from a sports superstar who's been in those situations many many times during their careers. I choked...plain and simple...I choked!!

Everyone applauded my gallant efforts again! Then it was back to business as they returned to their lanes to finish their games. Tom came over and gave me a big hug.

Game 2: I bowled a 275. Not bad, not perfect, but not bad. So close but so far away. Will I ever have that opportunity again, I don't know, but if I do I sure hope I can remember which foot steps first. My nerves were shot. Now you see why I only bowled a 136 game in game 3; I was spent!

I'm sure some knew I wouldn't bowl the 300 game, and I accept that. Other's were praying and hoping that I would bowl the 300, and I thanked them for their support.

Now the naysayers always seem to have something to say, and this night was no exception. Mostly everyone in our league knew of my MA, and these naysayers had to have one last hurrah at my expense.

"If you're a black belt and all of that, and you're suppose to have excellent hand and eye coordination and all of that...why did you choke on a 300 game...huh?" I've had people say to me during a game of pool nearly the very same thing, with the exception of the 300 game. This is what I told them that night, and what I tell them when they try that same attack...

"The last time I checked, the dojo doesn't have a bowling alley or a pool table in it. Why? It's a DOJO you DODO!!" Sheech!

Our MA abilities translate into many other gifts, but bowling...pool...I can only wish, because if it did, I'd be RICH!! Btw, Minnesota Fat isn't a black belt and if he was, I doubt that his pool skills come from the MA, and if PBA legend Pete Webber had a black belt, I doubt that his bowling skills come from the MA.

My MA skill set is for the MA and not for bowling or pool or anything else for that matter.

Thoughts?


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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6165
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story

sensei8 wrote:
"If you're a black belt and all of that, and you're suppose to have excellent hand and eye coordination and all of that...why did you choke on a 300 game...huh?" I've had people say to me during a game of pool nearly the very same thing, with the exception of the 300 game. This is what I told them that night, and what I tell them when they try that same attack...

"The last time I checked, the dojo doesn't have a bowling alley or a pool table in it. Why? It's a DOJO you DODO!!" Sheech!

Our MA abilities translate into many other gifts, but bowling...pool...I can only wish, because if it did, I'd be RICH!! Btw, Minnesota Fat isn't a black belt and if he was, I doubt that his pool skills come from the MA, and if PBA legend Pete Webber had a black belt, I doubt that his bowling skills come from the MA.

My MA skill set is for the MA and not for bowling or pool or anything else for that matter.


Whilst I agree that MA skills won't make you a fantastic bowler or anything else I would think it does give you a leg up over other amateurs. A little bit with that hand-eye coordination and having generally better motor skills but more so along the lines of having that ability to focus and that self-discipline. Basically mushin. Not to say that we won't sometimes succumb to the pressure but on the whole because of the nature of our training we're better equipped to deal with it than Joe Bloggs off the street.

What I would say is this is why, martial artists who compete (and other sportsmen) should take some time to prepare psychologically for competitions. You have to put yourself in stressful situations before the big day and get yourself used to coping with them. Make standing in front of 100's of people and getting on the mat routine. Don't make the big day the first time you experience that kind of pressure.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27847
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that MA skills don't transfer to other things. There are MAists out there that think they do, but they don't.

I would also offer that you didn't choke there on that game, Bob. You did your best, gave your all, and that's about all anyone can ask for. I think the word choke is a bit overused when it comes to sports analogies. Now, if you lost a game of bowling to me, who really sucks, and I ended up winning some over-the-top bet with you, then that would likely be a choke. But this instance, na, I don't think so.
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