I have never really liked bowling.  Well, I guess I have only kind of liked it.  It’s always been one of those things that constantly makes me want quit.  I can’t tell you how many times I leave one or two pins standing – no matter how hard I hit them, no matter how crazy they fly around down there after my ball violently strikes them.  I just can’t figure the secret of this game out.  I guess in some way that is okay because I figure, like most guys, that if you can’t hit them all down, you may as well hit them really hard. (I am sure it’s some kind of macho-man, dude thing). 

If you ever turn on ESPN while there is some kind of big sporting event on another channel you’ll often find some kind of musical ice skating or, if you’re lucky, a professional bowling match (Do they call bowling a match?).  It’s quite apparent that ESPN has given in to the fact that they have no chance of competing with the other sporting event.

So, I guess they figure there is no better time to put overweight guys who have obviously drunk way too much beer in their lives, who throw balls down waxed-up lanes at little white pins, on television.  Of course, as much as I want to make fun of these guys, I have to admit they do have some talent.

I am pretty sure they have figured out this game’s secret. They have much greater success at knocking those things down than I do.  I mean, they rarely have those two stupid back pins standing all by themselves. I am pretty sure the thing that separates these fine athletes from the rest of us simple people is the nicely shaped curve they put on their ball.  Me, well I just throw it straight down the lane as hard as I can.  My consolation comes from that fact that while I know these guys get much better scores than I do, I am pretty sure that I can throw the ball harder than they can.

Of course, the point of the game isn’t who can throw the ball harder – that is, unless you are in high school, you are bowling with your friends and there are girls that you are trying to impress.  For some strange reason, guys think that girls will want to date those of us who can throw bowling balls really fast. Somewhere someone told us there was a correlation between the amount of action you got on your pins and the amount of action you’d get from the ladies. I have never looked into this theory, but from experience, I am pretty sure it’s not a good one.  

Of course, the point of the game is to knock down as many pins as possible.  Since I am not in high school, trying to impress some girl with my amazing bowling ball speed, I wonder what it is that keeps me from learning the right way to bowl. 

Really, I think there are a few reasons. 

The basic reason is that I really don’t like bowling enough to care.  It is pretty much one of those things that I do with my family during the holiday’s and when I am with a group of friends and we have nothing to do.  So, for me to invest any time in it would not make any sense.  It is not a passion of mine.  I am totally content with being mediocre. 

Another key factor that keeps me from learning the right way to bowl, stemming from my lack of caring, is that I know for me to ever be any good at bowling I will have to learn it all over again.  I’ll have to change my whole approach to bowling.  Not only will I actually have to bowl more, but when I do I’ll have to bowl the right way.  I’ll have to totally revamp my bowling throwing motion.  Considering I know nothing about bowling, I would probably need to find myself some kind of bowling instructor.  And if i want to find a good one, I am guessing I’d have to find one that is a little overweight and has probably drunk way too much beer.  He could teach me how to throw a ball with a nice curve on it so those two stupid pins would not always taunt me with their evil, still-standing stares.   

Since I don’t really have much of a passion for bowling, I don’t really care to go through all these pains.  Even though this is the way that has proven to be successful.  Even though this is the way the overweight guys who have drunk too much beer do it.  Even though I know that this is what it would take to finally be able to consistently break 105.  (By the way, I have averaged about 105 since I was in fourth grade.  It’s quite apparent that I am not getting anywhere with my way of doing things). 

Also, now that I am married, the motives for improving my bowling skills have continued to deteriorate.  While I am not sure how single girls react to guys trying to impress them with their bowling ball speed, I know that wives are definitely not impressed with this.

Of course, if someday I decide that bowling is my passion and set the goal to be on ESPN during the Super Bowl, I would be in for quite a challenge.  There would be that ever awkward period of time where I would be learning to bowl the right way.  During this time, I would have a hard time even breaking my 110 average, while learning to bowl all over again.  This would be sure to not impress the girls.  

I definitely don’t have enough passion for bowling to go through all of that.  I think I’ll just settle for my once or twice a year outing.  I’ll settle for mediocrity with my really fast rolling ball and let those two pins taunt me as I bowl my 110 for the rest of my life.

By now you are probably wondering what in the world bowling has to do with anything. I think most of us have lived life the way I have pursued my bowling career.  The only difference I see is that it is quite obvious that I have decided to settle for mediocrity in bowling. 

I get the feeling, however, that most of us don’t realize that we have done the same thing in life. 

What we don’t realize is that while the world’s been selling us dreams of luxury cars, $300 mp3 players and big screen TV’s; we’ve been buying a life that is nothing more than a 104 bowling average. 

And, of course, the question is:  Are we willing to settle for bowling 104 because its easy or are we going to walk the long, hard road to a better way of life?