Biking, Bowling and Bruising My Ego

When I went to Berlin back in 2012 with Jen and Amanda, we did an hours-long bike tour around the city. They were super gung-ho about it, and I was slightly warier. I mean, I couldn't remember the last time I'd been on a bike. But I used the stationary bike at the gym all the time, and Berlin is a very bike-friendly city, so I threw better judgment to the wind and went for it.

I was atrocious.

Okay, so a big part of it definitely had to do with the fact that my bike was just plain too big for me. They didn't have anything smaller (gee, this seems to be a pattern in my life!). So every time I had to stop, I fell over because my foot couldn't reach the ground, and then I had so, so much trouble getting going again.

It was bad. I was perpetually at the back of the group, holding everyone up, and I felt so bad for the guy designated to be at the back of the pack to make sure we didn't lose anyone. 'Cause it was me and him together, ride or die, that whole stinkin' tour. And he was an incredibly experienced biker, too, so I felt like a complete moron. But he was super nice about it, encouraging me and giving me pointers.

At some point during those endless hours, I learned to throw out whatever ego I had left. I was awful, plain and simple. No use trying to play it cool or getting upset about it or giving two hoots what everyone else thought of me. All I could do was laugh at myself, figure out how to correctly fall off that stupid, too-big bike and learn how to get myself started again.

And I did. I still wasn't fantastic, but by god, I improved.

Photo courtesy of Amanda. I did NOT have the wherewithal to take pictures on this tour!

Yesterday, I was right back on that tottering bike in Germany.

USA Volleyball held a Turkey Bowl, which was early office closure, bowling and nothing to do with turkeys. I hadn't bowled in god knows how long, so I knew I'd be bad, but what the heck? I'd go, do my best, and hang out with some awesome people.

Well, LOL, I was awful. Like, let's-not-even-talk-about-it awful. I just could not get the ball to stay out of the right gutter. I was trying to aim left, but my arm did whatever the heck it wanted, and it wanted to go right. It was like falling off that damn bike over and over again; I knew exactly what I was doing wrong and I still. couldn't. fix it. People were trying to give me pointers and coach me; do this with your body, do this with your feet, do this with your arm, do this with your hand, and you'll be good to go! Er, maybe it's just me, but trying to think about a zillion different things while simultaneously doing all of them just made me even more confused.

So I just laughed at myself. I mean, it still stung a little when people joked about how horrible I was. But hey, it was true! No point in denying it! I was even bestowed the honor of the Twinkle Toes award, given to the worst bowler on staff. Just in case you thought I was exaggerating!

As documented on the USA Volleyball Twitter account, lol.
Yep. That's a thing.
Towards the middle of the first game, the owner of the bowling alley came over to help. I kid you not. I don't know if he did that of his own volition or if someone asked him to, and quite frankly I can't decide which is more embarrassing. But either way, he broke it down for me. As you're bowling, point your index finger at the pin you want to hit, and when you follow through, make sure it's still pointing at that pin.

Lo and behold, it worked! I improved steadily for the rest of the game, and hardly got any gutter balls in game two. I ended the second game on a strike and a spare (it would've been two strikes if there hadn't been a freaking gutter ball in between!) and beat all but one person in my lane, improving my first score by almost 70 points. Twinkle Toes my ass!

That's more like it! #ballslap
As I was sitting there in this Twinkle Toes jersey that proclaimed loudly, "HEY LOOK, I SUCK AT BOWLING!", my boss turned to me and said, "I smell a blog!"...Am I really that predictable? (Don't answer that.)

Let's be real, it sucks being awful at things. But being named Twinkle Toes also gives you the chance to be Most Improved. So learn from people who know what they're doing, laugh at yourself, and don't worry, that bruised tailbone from riding a bike for four hours will heal itself way slower than your pride will.

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1 comment :

  1. Haha! I love this. I, too, am generally horrible at bowling, but then I'll randomly have these good streaks that give me hope... and then it turns to crap again. I think it correlates with how many beers I've had. First beer = bad. Second beer = bowling star! Third beer = nope. Good for you for laughing at yourself and having fun while being bad. And THEN for improving! :)