Thursday, March 25, 2010

How does a bowler know when he or she is old?

I think it was about 12 years ago when I first thought to myself, "I am getting old." Those of you who have many years on me would find it amusing to learn that I am 37 years old today. When you are an adolescent, you can't wait to grow up so you can drive, move out, legally drink bowling juice, etc. Then, at some point, you wish you could be young again. I think it's when your knees start to hurt.

Being an empirical type of guy, I needed some way to determine if I was in fact old, so I developed a simple test. Every year on or near my birthday, I shoot 100 free throws. I will know I am old when my age exceeds my free throw percentage. Because of this exercise and because I don't want to be old, my ability to shoot free throws has improved markedly. At my current rate, I probably have about 30 more years before I am an old fart.

So, thinking about my current obsession, bowling, I was wondering if I could come up with some analogous bowling test for maturity. I have decided that there are two possible measures. It must be either pickup% or single pin spare%. It cannot be strike% because I would already be old. I only strike about 33% of frames. Currently my pickup% sits around 48%. If that stays put, I will be old in eleven years. That seems a bit too soon to me, so I think I'll go with single pin%. I currently collect single pin spares at a 65.7% clip. That gives me nearly 30 years and coincides with traditional retirement age.

I apologize profusely if I have labeled anyone "old" who did not already realize their obvious status. If you are obsessed with the weather report, you should have known where you stand. I am finding the weather to be more interesting every day.


  1. It's a good thing I don't keep detailed stats of my bowling otherwise it would only go to confirm what I already suspected. Ignorance is bliss.

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  3. I wish I had taken up bowling earlier in my life... Then I would have had the inevitable debilitating stroke by now and bowling would no longer be vexing me.

    You're not old. But it's in our late 30s that we begin to panic about our lack of achievement(s) in this life and how our time is running out, all the while ignoring the all that we are and all that we've done in the great distance we've covered. On my 47th birthday, my wife told me (very out of character for her) "you've accomplished a lot in your 47 years" at which I mentally scoffed. But she was right.

    As emasculating as bowling has become for me over the last 7 months, sometimes I just have to get a grip on what's really important. Bowling speaks volumes about the human condition.

    Maybe today you should bowl 100 frames.

    Actually, if I were you, I'd shoot 100 free throws and give thanks (or at least be thankful) for something different each time. You will walk away fulfilled, man. Even if you only put 1 ball in the basket.

    С днём рождения, братик!

    (When was the last time someone wished you happy birthday in Russian?)

  4. Happy birthday Todd.

    There's no better cure for feeling old than hanging out with people older than you.

    Of course that may be a problem for someone who teaches at a university.

  5. Happy birthday Todd :)

    What I wouldn't give to be a strapping, young, humble, 29 year old.

    Oh, wait :)

  6. Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes.

    EB, you are absolutely right when you say, "in our late 30s that we begin to panic about our lack of achievement(s) in this life and how our time is running out". I went through a serious episode of this a couple of years ago, and I think I have come to terms with it. Happy bday in Russian? You are the first.

    MD, College freshmen used to seem like adults. Now, they seem like children.

    K-terk, fuck off. Are you really 29?

  7. My thoughts on aging: you never actually get older, rather everyone around you just gets younger.

    I turn 30 in August, while the rest of the world reverts to 14 around the same time :)


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