I am a pretty decent bowler. I have been bowling since I was seven years old. I should be a decent bowler; I’ve been doing it for sixty years. I average around 180 in a league where 180 is only slightly above average.
One thing that hurts my average is I always have trouble hitting the 10 pin. The ten pin is right hand side pin in the last row, right next to the gutter. I throw the ball with a pretty good hook. You cannot hook at the 10 pin or the ball is in the gutter before it has a chance to bend. (Bored yet?)
In order to hit the 10 pin you have to throw the ball straight, not always easy for a once a-week bowler. (Bear with me now) To hit the 10 pin without changing the way you throw the ball, many bowlers use a plastic ball which slips in the oil and will not hook very much. (And you thought the game was simple.)
This season I broke down and bought a plastic coated ball. Ninety bucks, just to use for hitting the 10 pin, and only the 10 pin.
Why is this post called pressure?
Years ago the great Mexican golfer Lee Trevino was asked about the pressure in having to make a putt for $100,000. (That would be 1 million dollars today.) Trevino who grew up poor and in his younger years often gambled on the golf course just to put groceries on the table answered.
“Putting for $100,000 is not pressure; pressure is putting to win a $10 bet when you only have $5 in your pocket”
This week I learned a new definition of pressure.
Pressure is trying to hit a 10 pin with a brand new $90 ball which you bought for the express purpose to hit that damn pin, and only that pin.
Everyone on your team knows you bought the new ball just to hit this pin, a pin which in the past you hit only 50% of the time. If you still can’t hit the pin with this new ball which you paid $90 just to hit this one damn pin you are going to look stupid…big time stupid.
My first chance to fire at the 10 pin I was nervous, knee shaking nervous. I threw the ball with too much spin. My other ball would have dug into the oil on the lane, grabbed the floor and hooked well past the 10 pin. My new plastic ball kept sliding, just like it is supposed to do, right into the 10 pin for a spare.
I had five more chances to hit the 10 pin this night. The new ball did not let me down. I went six for six on the night at hitting my nemesis pin.
It should be even easier next week.
The pressure is off.