Achieving Perfection

March 4, 2010
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When I was eight, a girl from school asked me if I wanted to join her bowling team. They needed another member for the summer league. I said yes and fell in love with the sport immediately.
Fast forward seven years to my freshmen year in high school. I made our school’s team, which is pretty selective since we have a good program. It was our first practice in January on our last day of Christmas break.
My practice shots were average. I was expecting to bowl what I normally do. Then the game started. I bowled a turkey and didn’t get too excited. Then four and five strikes. I thought, wow, I never really bowl this good. I can get my high score if I keep doing well.
It was about the sixth strike that the sophomores next to my lane started to notice. One asked, “Who is A?” since that was all they could see on the screen. This made me smile since the upperclassmen didn’t seem to respect me and certainly didn’t want to be on the same lanes as me.
Right then, my dad showed up early to pick me up from practice. I turned around and told in a strong tone, “Don’t say anything.” He gave me a look that said he wasn’t planning on it. He saw part of the series of strikes and knew not to disturb my streak. He didn’t know exactly how many strikes I had.
Right after that, in the seventh or eighth frame, I realized that I might actually do it. I had a chance of bowling a 300 game. That made me nervous and I started to feel the pressure. It wasn’t the kind of pressure that if I didn’t do it my team would lose, but the pressure of potential failure I would feel if I messed up that late in the game. Right then and there I wanted to think about anything but bowling.
I got a lucky strike in the ninth frame and the pressure increased. It didn’t help that one of the coaches was at my lane and had stayed there the whole practice. He pointed out that was a lucky strike because earlier I had said that I was just having a lucky day and he told me that it wasn’t luck, it was skill.
I made an adjustment in the tenth, one board to the right, so I wouldn’t have to be lucky. And I shot. I knew once I released it that it was going to be a strike, the same with the next shot. At this point, I wanted to be calm and act like it wasn’t a big deal, but my body would not listen. I was shaking very badly going into the twelfth and final shot. I let out my breath and bowled. I was afraid that I would drop it and mess up the game because my hands were sweaty. I released the ball.
It was nerve-wrecking watching that final shot go down the lane. And it was clearly a strike, the pins just fell down. I had bowled a 300. I turned around and was completely in shock. True, I had known that it was possible the entire game, but I didn’t think it could actually happen. My highest scores were in the low 200’s before and I just jumped to a perfect game. I couldn’t believe I had done it. The team coach gave me two high fives for that one, a team thing reserved for really good games. I ran back and hugged my dad as my score was announced to the whole bowling alley.
There are professional bowlers who have not bowled a 300. I had really done something, accomplishing it at fifteen. If someone had told me earlier that day that I would bowl a 300, I would have laughed. It didn’t seem possible. I learned that day to never doubt what seems impossible and never doubt yourself.





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Kenneth18 said...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Two comments:

(1) VERY well written, I could almost literally see everything!

(2) Way to go, I'm sure I would just as shocked as you.

 
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