Across the road from my sister’s care home is a bowling alley

Now that it’s reopened after lockdown, I like to go with her once a week. She has the bumpers and a pink ball. She lobs it forcefully, it zigzags. When it hops over the barriers and gets stuck she covers her mouth and her eyes widen in concern. Other times the ball dribbles towards the pins, nudging them like a kitten.

More times than not she wins though.

I’m there for fun and bonding with her, but why would I not also try and improve my bowling?

I don’t have the bumpers

Time after time, my ball goes in the gutter. It’s such a lesson in patience. I know what I need to do. I know what it feels like when it’s on point, that slight kind of twist of the wrist. I try to do this always, but often it just won’t execute. I don’t know why.

Do not regret what is done.’ – Miyamoto Musashi

You can see the outcome of a bad ball almost after it leaves your hand. Frustration here is fruitless. Turn around and resolve to do better. To practise again.

When I get a strike it feels like a fluke. My job is to tune right in and remember – what did I do there? I try not to look at the pins but instead focus on the little guide arrows inlaid to the slippery wood. If it’s on track there, it’s usually good.