I have two mottos

March 8, 2010


I don’t hold myself to very strict standards in most areas of my life, but I do seem to embrace two credos. From my parents, I get “it doesn’t hurt to ask.” From bowling, I get “it’s only fun if you make it fun.”

It doesn’t hurt to ask

This is a philosophy that was instilled in me by my parents from an early age. In my young life, I was made to practice this by having to make my own requests about things. When I was eight or nine, I had come across a science activity to make my own bouncy ball by mixing certain chemicals together. I don’t remember what the substances were, but I do remember that it was very convenient that one of my best friends’ dad was, in fact, a chemist. As much as I wanted my mom to make the phone call for me, I had to do it. He was more than willing to bring me a little of what I needed. What still stands out in my memory though, is that, having never really directly addressed the dad before, I just went ahead and called him by his first name. Nowadays it’s common for kids to call adults by their first names, but back then, there was a brief hesitation from Mrs. H on the other end of the line as well as the suggestion from my mom to call him Mr. H in the future. I also remember that the ball did not turn out very round.

More recently, just asking is how I got Lagunitas Brewing to sponsor one of my bowling teams, even though they’re in California and I’m in Minnesota. I had the opportunity to meet the owner and brewer toward the end of last summer, and the idea hit me like a lightning bolt. So when it was my turn for a few minutes of conversation with him and I had finished gushing about how I absolutely love his beer, especially the India Pale Ale, I said, “Hey, I’ve got a promotional opportunity for you!” And his answer was, “Sure, we love doing things like that.”

It doesn’t hurt to ask.

It’s only fun if you make it fun

This one has developed in the last few years as a result of bowling with better bowlers in better leagues. Everybody wants to be good, including me, and there are some really intense people in these leagues. I always try to do my best and even when I’m having a game like the one pictured above, I try not to give up or get crabby. Being upset doesn’t benefit me or my game. But a lot of people don’t see it that way. They throw their towels or smack the scoring console or swear loudly at the foul line. I don’t believe that those things make them feel any better or help them figure out how they could adjust to improve their shot. It probably only raises their blood pressure a little. If we were that good, we’d be out on the PBA tour with a sponsor. We are good, but it’s still just a game and not a matter of life and death. We should enjoy ourselves while we’re out recreating.

It’s only fun if you make it fun.


And now I will refill my glass, even though it’s still half full.

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