Wednesday, August 22, 2007

the strike(ing) effect

And anxieties really can be overcome. Would you look at that?

The pavement was slick today, and I must confess that I positively love it because of the satiating, sliding sensation that I get when my flip flops move across wet pavement. It is August, and I am gleefully flip flop skating in the parking lot of the Strike 'n' Spare in Greenbrook, New Jersey. Hoo-ra.

And I'll back up a bit -- it seems that somewhere along the line I intended to jot down a few notes regarding my apparent fear of bowling. And while I realize that people are permitted one or two irrational fears throughout the span of their life, I find the fact that one of mine seems to be bowling to be absolutely insane. Or inane. Or both.

I'm going to go ahead and be honest here: I've never broken a bowling score of 100 in my entire life.
I have unusually large feet for a girl my height and have harbored a secret insecurity over bowling shoes since I found out that I was a size 10 (at the fresh age of 10).
My thumbs never fit correctly into the thumb holes on bowling balls, ending up either too large or too small. This creates one of two possible conundrums: either the hole is too large and my grip is not strong enough to keep me from tossing the ball into the air (always coming back down and hitting the hardwood with a painfully cracking thud) as I attempt to roll it down the lane, or the hole is too small, squeezing the life out of my innocent thumb and forcing my tendency to sort of trip down the first few feet of the lane along with the ball before it finally squeaks free (and again, hits the lane with that same, cracking thud).
These things combined with the fact that each time I step up to bowl, I feel a tremendous pressure to perform and be clever (of course, to make up for the fact that I am so embarrassingly horrible at the sport) are what have cultivated into my severe case of Bowler's Anxiety (BA).

Bowler's Anxiety is apparently a disease that can remain silent and invisible for quite some time before it is discovered. I was completely unaware of my case until early last year when I was invited to go bowling with a group of friends. I'd not been in several years, and as soon as the invitation left his lips, this overwhelming anxiety overcame me. My instant answer was "no thanks".
My friends were confused and I myself was left with little to no explanation because I myself did not understand it.

You see, friends, I've no worries of performing every now and again. You show up at a party, you go to a wedding with a friend, you meet a group of new people... these all call for one or two performances over the course of an evening. But bowling? Man.
You're called to the platform at least 10 times within a 45 minute period. And that's only if your group has wussed out at just one game! The pressure is far too great for a night of supposed fun. Additionally, NJ bowling alleys (with their creepy staff and day-glo color schemes) used to at least keep two saving graces within their God-forsaken walls: alcohol and cigarette consumption. Copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes could definitely heal the fresh wounds of bowling, but now one of those delights has been taken away (round of applause for the NJ State Legislature, please) and who knows when the second one will be snatched from our hands (and sore little thumbs).

And please, spare me the numerous comments on how bowling is supposed to be "fun", and "goofy", and "a great idea for a birthday party". I've heard it all. I won't be shaken. I have a condition for pete's sake. I can't be shaken.

However, I digress.
I digress because I'm here today to tell you that I've finally taken my first therapeutic steps to recovery. Of course, it will be a long process, but I feel that quite a lot of progress was made today.

And dammit, I still only bowled an 80.

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