I've been able to compete at the highest level in bowling, but that doesn't mean that I don't have my fair share of embarrassing moments on the lanes. And, my most embarrassing moment came in my first tournament at the highest level.
I joined the Professional Bowlers Association a few years back and entered a local tournament. It was a regional tournament being held Lakeland, Florida. The nice thing about the venue is that it is where I used to bowl my league while I was in college, so that helped with some of the nerves of my first professional tournament.
These tournaments are spread out over three days. On Fridays, there is a practice session. Qualifying is on Saturdays and if you make the cut, you have to come back on Sunday to compete in match play and finals.
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It didn't take long into the tournament weekend for me to totally embarrass myself. I went to the practice session and it was extremely humid in the bowling center. While I was practicing, I attempted to throw a shot and I expected to slide as I threw the ball, but I didn't. My foot planted instead of sliding and I went flying out onto the lane and fell flat on my butt.
I got up, very embarrassed, covered in oil from the lane, and had to go clean myself off.
Luckily, there aren't many spectators in the building during the practice session, so I didn't make a complete fool out of myself in front of a bunch of people.
Fortunately, if you play the game long enough, it happens to everybody. Although I was completely humiliated, the guys were all really nice and made sure I was OK.
Needless to say, this idea stuck in my head the rest of the tournament, and every time I went to throw the ball, the main concern I had wasn't throwing the ball well, but not falling. So, my first professional tournament was a bust, but the experience is one I will surely never forget.
When things like this happen, it's very humbling, because no matter how accomplished you can be at something, you are still human and you are always going to have moments when the outcome is a bit less than what you expect it to be.