league

A couple of weeks ago, my granddaughter, Shai was asked to bowl on our Monday night league. She decided to, even though she had only bowled two other times in her life, and really didn’t know how. Like most of us, she thought there was nothing to it. Last week on her first week as a regular bowler, she began to have second thoughts and a bad case of nerves. She didn’t know how to do the approach, and nothing felt right. To top it off, she was faced with all the other bowlers, who have bowled for years. The night couldn’t have been much worse for her, and I couldn’t help her, even though I am a trained coach, because we were both bowling, and there simply wasn’t enough time. Shai set an average of 58, and by the end of the evening, she was convinced that this was a mistake, and she could never be a good bowler.

I promised her it would get better, and later in the week, I made plans to take her bowling so I would have time to coach her. Shai’s friend, Sterling was going to be a substitute on the league, so she came along. The first thing I told the girls was that they would be doing an approach, because it is the correct way to bowl, and the best way to improve  quickly. There were some very funny moments, such as sliding on the wrong foot, and gutter balls that barely got past the foul line first, but they stuck with it, and in the very short hour that we had to get this lined out, the girls made great strides. Of course, the real test of our success would be the following week…this week.

The girls were nervous, but I assured them that they would do great. I reminded them that I didn’t want to see any bowling with no approach. They assured me that they would bowl correctly. It was time for the real test. I was glad that the girls were bowling next to each other. There is still comfort in having a friend nearby. They both did great. No, they didn’t break 100, but they had decent games. Shai went from having a 176 series the first week to having a 244 series this week, and while Sterling didn’t bowl last week, she had a 233 series this week. Last week, Shai was convinced that she didn’t like bowling. When I asked her how she felt this week, she said it was fun. All the seasoned bowlers made the girls feel welcome, both last week and this week, but the difference is that this week, Shai felt more like a real bowler. Here comes the next bowling generation.

When you are small, and you don’t have much prospect of getting very big, you have 2 choices. You can take the teasing and even bullying that kids can dish out, or you can learn to take care of yourself. As an adult who is only 4’11” tall, you can imagine how little Amy was as a little girl. But don’t let her small size fool you, because if necessary, you will find that there is a tiger living inside that small frame. Of course, like all tiger cubs, Amy’s prowess developed slowly. She first began by making sure that her big sister, Corrie knew who was the tougher of the two. Now Corrie was bigger, and 11 months older, but that didn’t matter. When Corrie was about 3, she came out of the bedroom the girls shared, crying. I asked what was wrong. She said through her tears, “Amy hit me!!” Now, coming from a family of five girls who fought plenty, I couldn’t see much sense in coming between them in their fight, so I told Corrie to “Hit her back!!” That brought immediate shrieks of terror as Corrie yelled, “NOOOOOOOO!!!” Now, I don’t know if Corrie was afraid she would hurt her little sister, or just plain afraid of her little sister, but she never would hit her back. It was probably just as well that Corrie didn’t hit Amy, because through the years, they have always been good friends. They never did fight very much. I guess that it is pretty hard to fight alone, so when your sister won’t hit you back, the fight is…well, over!

Now the same thing did not apply to other children who got on Amy’s bad side. When Amy was just about 2 years old, and about the same time as Corrie’s little mishap with her, the girls began going into the nursery at the bowling alley, while I bowled on a league. One day as I was bowling, I heard this blood curdling scream coming from the nursery. It was a scream that I quickly recognized as my youngest daughter. I ran up to the nursery to see what was going on in there. I asked the nursery attendant what had happened…concern showing on my face, I’m quite sure. She quickly reassured me that everything was just fine…now. Then she explained that one of the other children in the nursery had decided that Amy was like a little toy doll or something, and tried to pick her up. Well, after that scream, that child…and all the others knew that you could play with that toy doll, but do not pick her up…ever!!!

The years have flown by, and that little tiger cub is all grown up…though still not tall. There is one thing that I can say about Amy, and that is…she can take care of herself. She’s not a fighter or a bully. In fact, she really never was…even when she needed to defend herself. She is simply a force to be reckoned with. So, during her teen years, while I won’t lie and say I never worried, I did know that she was pretty capable of taking care of herself, and it really was the other guy who might want to watch out. Amy is a gentle spirit that is quiet and kind. She looks for friends, not enemies. She looks for the best in people, and that is a trait that maybe more of us should have…me included.

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