By Michael Cousins
A kid that I work with texted me from Junior Gold. Told me how disappointed he is thus far with his performance. How he expected so much more. And how he feels like he’s let himself and his family that took him there, down based on his performance.
All of this is understandable. And I remember feeling these same emotions once or twice in that tournament. But, in hindsight, I also remember learning from all of my disappointments.
So this is to every kid bowling Junior Gold right now that is disappointed with their performance. And please understand that every year you bowl this event, there will always be more bowlers that were disappointed with their performance than there are kids that are happy with their performance. That is just the way it is when you have THAT many kids bowling for but a few spots on Jr. Team.
I personally bowled Junior Gold seven times in my youth career. And I am not going to sit here and lie to you about how I bowled well every time. Fact of the matter is I didn’t. I had my fair share of failures, I had some moderate success. But nothing to write home about. I never made Jr. Team and I never finished inside of the top 16, unfortunately. But, despite all of that, bowling that tournament made me better. It made me smarter. And it made me work harder.
If it weren’t for that event, I’d have never gotten to the level that I got to. I am positive of it.
I got better every year I bowled that tournament. And it didn’t always show at that event, but in the months after, I was sharper, smarter, quicker to make moves, and I performed better than the year before.
Don’t get me wrong. It is hard. It is frustrating. And, above all else, it tests your patience. And, in the moment, it is hard to see any positives. Trust me I get it. But they’re there. As long as you’re willing to look for them.
If you stay patient, stay cool, calm, and collected, I promise you that there is something to learn. Something very valuable. And you’ll become a better bowler because of this event.
But you have to be open-minded. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes/failures. You have to want to get better from it. The early years of my Junior Gold career were very bad. At 13 years old (and, remember, when I was a kid, there was no U12 or U15 divisions), I had no chance of bowling well enough to compete with Matt O’Grady, Jesse Buss, and John Szcerbinski. Especially since back then the age limit was 22 years old. So me at 13 had absolutely no chance of competing with guys nearly a decade older than I was. But seeing them compete at a high level and finding success only made me hungrier; it made me want to find my own success.
If you’re bowling well this year, awesome! Congratulations. Keep it up. But if you’re not, if you’re in the large majority of disappointed kids, please understand that that is okay too. Just stay positive and try to see the light at the end of all of this. Learn from it. Get better. And go back next year more prepared for success.