Friday, December 12, 2008

Do We Own Our Balls or Do Our Balls Own Us?

Recently, I have become concerned about my relationship with my bowling ball. At first, it was great. I hand picked it from thousands of balls on the internet, waited by the door for it to arrive, spent big bucks getting it custom drilled to fit my hand, and even named it ("the Captain"). On off nights, I would spend hours shining it with my wife's nicest dish towel.
Things went well for a few weeks. The Captain responded well to my care and rolled straight and true. I watched with glee as my average crept up and my handicap crept down. I call this time "the Honeymoon period."
As sometimes happens, the love affair between the Captain and me ended. It stopped responding to my attention and care and let me down more than once at the lanes. I was initially puzzled and hurt. What had I done that was so offensive? For weeks this went on - the awkward meetings at the lane every Monday; the Captain sitting in the corner of our office on off-nights, seemingly ignoring me. I did not know what to do.
Then it dawned on me... I cared too much. I had put the Captain on a pedestal. In an attempt to rectify the situation, I "accidentally" left the Captain in the trunk of my car for a week. It was during an especially cold spell here in Laramie. I didn't think about the ball once: no silent staring back and forth, no awkward silences, and most of all, no constant attention. The freedom was refreshing.
The next time I bowled (Wednesday afternoon), the Captain was cold to the touch from being alone for so long. But, it once again rolled straight and true. I had my best week every as a pro-am (if you consider getting an occasional free pitcher of beer as gettin' paid) and realized that I had redefined my relationship with my bowling ball. Now, I am in control. Every Monday night, I make the Captain sit outside on our porch in the cold rain and snow. We roll on my terms and the ball knows it. It was a difficult transition, but I think our future together now looks brighter than ever.
Which leads me to my original question: "do we own our balls or do our balls own us?

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