You’ve heard the old adage: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, add an “ie” to Jack and that has been me for the past five years.
Before 2012, I had been an avid bowler, a sport I got hooked on when I was 10-years-old thanks to a local bowling alley in Fayetteville giving us elementary school kids a Friday afternoon outlet. Friday couldn’t come quick enough for me and my classmates. Two hours of rip-roaring fun coupled with some French fries and a drink was all it took to propel me into a sport I LOVED.
In 1971, my dad got orders to Germany and I was crushed because I didn’t think they had bowling alleys on post, but they did. Come on, I was 10, I didn’t know. It was in Germany where I started bowling in a youth league. Saturday mornings became a Family affair. My mom and dad would watch and cheer me and my teammates on as we went stroke-for-stroke against our opponent. We won some matches and we lost some, but what was smiles and giggles for others became a true hobby for me.
I wanted to take my game up another notch, so my parents bought me a bowling ball, a bag and a pair of shoes. The bowling alley became my home away from home every Friday night, Saturday after league play and Sunday afternoon, under the watchful eye of my dad, of course.
When my dad was reassigned to Fort Bragg in 1974, I continued to bowl. Sure, I played other sports throughout high school and college (I am a proud E.E. Smith High School and Fayetteville State University graduate), but bowling was my mode of relaxation. I never traveled anywhere without my bowling ball. That’s how important this sport of “strikes and spares” was to my psyche.
After getting married, my husband and I went back to where? You got it — Germany — and the bowling cycle continued for me throughout the three tours we were assigned there.
We finally settled here in 1999 and I was bowling three leagues a week and traveling to various tournaments on the weekend from North Carolina to Georgia … can you say obsessed! However, I quickly discovered I had to slow the roll (no pun intended) due to work becoming hectic and for our son, who was very active in sporting events and activities. No problem, too easy, because as parents our priority was to be at his events to root him on just as my parents did for me. Plus, I was still able to decompress through bowling even though it was now only once a week and fewer weekend tournaments.
Fast forward to 2012, our son is in college at UNC Charlotte, so running here and there and everywhere to catch his games and extracurricular activities became unnecessary. Yet, I found myself calling the captain of my bowling team countless times and saying to him, “Hey, I can’t make it tonight, I’ve got to work late. I am so sorry for the inconvenience.” Whoa, wait a minute ... what am I doing? How could I let work overtake my life and completely ditch my passion for bowling? Let alone become an unreliable teammate.
What was my once a week “happy place” had become ZERO, NADA, NOTHING! The weekend tournaments, POOF … disappeared. For five years, I lay dormant like a bear hibernating for the winter. My routine was home and work, work and home and every now and then walking. Everyone needs an outlet, something to do or somewhere to unwind. Mine had been the bowling alley.
So guess what y’all, I’M BACK! I got asked to bowl on a Thursday night league and it’s awesome. I’ve got wonderful teammates, but more importantly, I’m executing a “perfect game” plan for relaxation … again.
My advice to you — don’t let work dull your life like I did for a while. Get back into the swing of things; get back into the game.