This afternoon, I took the kids bowling at The Zone in Richmond. It was some good family time after being away all of last week for YouthLeader. I had a decent first game (scoring 161) and with a strong finish to the game, I was looking forward to an even better second game.
I’d say I’m a good (not great) bowler. My average score is about 150 or so, and my best game ever is 227. As anticipated, I got off to a great start in my second game, getting 3 consecutive strikes for a game-opening turkey. I was hopeful of breaking my all-time high score.
Then, it all changed….just seconds before I was about to start my fourth frame.
For some inexplicable reason, a guy walked up to our bowling ball returner and picked up my ball. Not only did he pick it up, he started to take it back to his lane with him.
“Excuse me!” I exclaimed. “I’m using that ball in my game.”
He put the ball back and then reached for another of our bowling balls.
“We’re using all of the balls here,” I said. “That’s why they are in our lane.”
This was so strange; it was the first time I had ever seen someone try to take someone else’s bowling ball..IN THE MIDDLE OF A GAME. Most people start by looking for their desired ball on the ball racks, and then they proceed to empty lanes only if they can’t find a ball they want to use.
He turned around without apologizing and left our vicinity. But the damage had been done.
I didn’t roll another strike for the rest of the game. As you can see from my scores below, I made spares in frames 4, 5, and 6 before finishing with open frames in 3 of my last 4 frames. My final score was 177. It’s certainly not a bad score on its own. But it’s pretty brutal when you consider the fact that I had 79 after 3 frames (and 116 at the half-way point).
I admit that I was pretty mad at the time. Not only was I mad at the stranger who tried to steal my bowling ball, I was also mad at myself for letting such a silly incident affect my game.
The funny thing is that the family playing immediately beside us had a couple of kids who would enter the lane and roll their balls while I was preparing for my shots. Most people know that if the bowler on either side of you is already in the lane and preparing to roll, it’s courtesy to wait until that person finishes before entering the lane yourself.
Their parents kept apologizing to me for the distraction, but I told them not to worry about it. After all, they are kids!
Yet I let a clueless adult throw me off my game.
I’d like to think that I’m pretty tough mentally. Maintaining a smile while getting roasted for 90 minutes at my 40th birthday party proved that. In hindsight, I should have been able to block out the interruption and continue playing. But I believe my results and final score speak for themselves. At the risk of playing “What If?”, I do indeed wonder what my final score could have been without the interruption.
I told a few friends about the shenanigans and they unanimously expressed sympathy for me while laughing at my plight.
My good buddy Rich jokingly suggested, “Maybe he was jealous after he saw you get your turkey.”
I guess I’ll never know. But one thing’s for certain:
I wish that he never grabbed my ball.