A few weeks ago I took the Flyers to their first JBT of the season. Two of our bowlers made match play, Helen Ianni and Yousef El-laham. They both had a very good tournament showing on that day, especially Yousef. This is only his second season and he shows tremendous potential. He lead the field after the third game and never looked back. Being the top seed he simply had to wait for who would survive match play.
I watched these youngsters competing as if it was the only thing that mattered in the whole world. They were competing for a few bucks in scholarship and a plaque that says on that day they were the best. The best part, they were doing it just because they love it, not because it had become a job.
Somewhere between that point and when we get older we loose that perspective. Where’s the love? We seem to miss the point of why we bowl. How many times have you seen someone completely fry, maybe abuse the ball return, throw equipment around or something like that. I understand competitive frustration but, where is the sense of joy. We get to the point where Strikes become routine and expected. We don’t celebrate them like our young counterparts.
I remember back a few years ago watching a bumper bowler in our junior program. He rolled the ball with two hands down the lane. It seemed to take for ever to travel the 60 feet to the head pin, bouncing off the bumpers like a pin ball. Finally rolling into the head pin. He watched as the pins lazily toppled around. The ball barely made it to the pin deck. When the last pin fell he jumped into the air fist raised in triumph, turned around to face his team and his mom with a huge teethy grin. That moment is priceless…it’s what we are all missing.
Maybe our younger counterparts stand to teach us a lesson or two about how to enjoy the game. That it is OK to feel excited about what we do and just have fun regardless of the outcome.
Oh, in case you we’re wondering what happened with Yousef. He faced a young man in the championship game who was bowling his first ever tournament. Yousef had to give up a lot of handicap and the conditions had broken down to where it was outside his ability to master. They boy he was facing was visibly nervous but, held his composure. He defeated Yousef…his mom was in tears and I saw that same wide eyed teethy grin I remembered from a few years ago on another young bowler…