Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My 500 Words: Day 21 - Bowling Night

Last night we had a family outing.  We met with another family for an evening of bowling.  This was a first for our family.  Moira has been bowling only one other time in her life and that was for another child's birthday party about four years or so ago.  It's been a while.  I will state for the record that I did not bowl!  Not in my condition, being in a boot and on crutches.  Wouldn't that have been hilarious?!

We don't get out socially with other families in this way very often.  We do have weekend pizza nights and after-church lunches from time to time, but we don't really ever do this.  Even though I wasn't an active participant in the bowling end of things, it was nice to just get out of the house and be with other people.  I think we all had a good time.  I'm hoping we're able to do this more regularly.  Turns out Mondays and Tuesdays are half price at this bowling alley, so that's a plus!

Three adults and three children  bowled the first game.  It was all in good fun.  I don't think there's a future pro bowler in the group.  At least not at this time.  I'm not sure that many records were set last night, but that's ok.  To the adults, at least, it was about getting together "in community" and getting to know one another a little better.

Somewhere in the middle of that first game, things began to break down for Moira.  As I said, this was only her second time bowling...ever.  So you have to expect that her scores were not going to be outstanding.  The goal was just to have fun among friends, right?  But Moira is so competitive at times.  At times I wonder if she knows how to just simply have fun.  Problems arose as soon as Ron had a couple good scores in a row.  Moira had been winning up to that point, but a couple good frames put him in the lead.  All of a sudden, Moira's demeanor changed.  The smiles were gone.  Each frame she played after this, she became a little more sad, a little more withdrawn, and a little more sulky.

I thought we had gone out to have a good time with friends.  Somewhere along the way, it became some sort of competition inside Moira's head.  I don't know.  Maybe not, but it seemed like it.  I couldn't understand why.  Didn't she want to have a good time with her friends?  No matter how many thumbs up or cheers we gave her, nothing would lift her spirits.  Honestly, I think her arm was getting tired or sore {or both}.  She wasn't bowling as well as the game went on and then she stopped trying.

It was a little comical to watch the transition, but it was kind of sad.  She was upset that people were scoring higher than her.  She was upset that she wasn't in first place anymore.  She didn't understand why because, after all, she'd been bowling once before ever in her life!! Seriously.  She said that.  I let her know that I am a worse bowler than how she was bowling.  I also told her that she was playing against three adults who have bowled a whole lot more and who are stronger, not to mention have better eye-hand coordination.  

It got me thinking about how often in life we get upset when something fails to go our way after just one try - if not on the first attempt itself.  Somewhere along the way we figured it all out in our head and we assume that the moment we get out there and make the actual attempt at whatever it is we're doing, we expect it to go perfectly.

It is an enormous amount of pressure to put on one's self, isn't it?  We carry a huge burden when we have these gigantic expectations.  When we fail to meet our own expectations, things can get pretty ugly.

It's just an observation I made during a family bowling night, but it would seem to me that if we lowered our expectations just a little and stopped putting so much pressure on ourselves to be "perfect", life might be a little less burdensome.  At least in the case of such an outing, I think it would be healthier to just cast aside all competitive notions and just try to live in the moment and enjoy the time you are spending with your family and friends.  Oh, a little healthy competition is good, but I think we need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves sometimes and enjoy the moment.

{if you're counting - that was 785 words for my twenty-first My 500 Words post, for a total of 17,194 this month!}
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