By Michael Cousins
Tonight, I bowled league. I bowled 688. I didn’t throw it great, I didn’t throw it bad. I seen guys throw it far worse than me bowl 750, I seen guys throw it far better than me bowl 610. This is league bowling.
Before you assume that I’m writing this article to complain about the state of league bowling, please hear me out.
League bowling is what it is. Both the good and the bad. It isn’t going to change anytime soon, and it probably shouldn’t have to either. It is meant to be recreational. It is meant to be fun. It is not meant to be challenging. That is league bowling.
I won’t, for a second, pretend that I am the biggest fan of league bowling.
I think everyone that I bowl with can attest to this.
And for years I have been trying to find out what is “wrong” with league bowling. I have tried to find a way to “fix” it. Make it more to my liking. Find a way for me to enjoy it more. But what if league bowling isn’t broken? What if it isn’t league that needs to change, but, rather, us, the bowlers?
First thing is first, league bowling isn’t a barometer for talent and skill level. We need to accept that. Just because someone averages 240 and you average 230 doesn’t mean that they’re more talented than you.
For the longest time, that really bothered me. I hated league bowling because of it. I felt like on any given night I could lose to lesser talent. That frustrated me beyond belief. It made me hate league. But, again, what if the problem there wasn’t league, but, rather, me and my expectations.
You can’t get mad at a leopard for being a leopard. Just like you can’t get mad at league bowling for being league bowling.
As I am getting older, and I’ve left competitive bowling behind, I have grown cynical. I have realized this. And I don’t think I am alone. In fact, after dealing with customers on a daily basis, I know that I am not alone. This article is to you guys. You know who you are. And I hope this helps.
League bowling isn’t going to change. It shouldn’t have to. When you’re at league next time, do me a favor: look around you, look at the other league bowlers. Do they look miserable? I think not. To many bowlers, league is a night off, a night away from whatever it is they’re dealing with in their day-to-day lives. They’re there for fun.
Who are we to take away from their enjoyment?
They’re not bowling league for the challenge; they just want to have a good time. They are there to converse, mingle, see friends, bowl the best they can, and, for 2-3 hours a week, try to get a break from life.
And while I know that, in most cases, we – these cynical league haters – are not trying to take away from anyone’s enjoyment, but we are. Inevitably.
Trust me, I understand that, from a competitive standpoint, league bowling gets frustrating from time-to-time.
It isn’t necessarily “fun” to throw the ball well, end up shooting 650, and losing to the competition – competition that may or may not be as talented as you are – by 100 pins. But that is league bowling. And it isn’t going to change.
We need to understand that. I need to understand that. We need to accept that. I need to accept that. League bowling isn’t the problem. We are. It is time that we stop waiting for league bowling to change and, instead, become the change ourselves.