I went bowling with MSer friends yesterday. Despite our various mobility issues, we all enjoyed the fun of trying to get a bowling ball to go straight down an alley and hit enough pins to score anything at all. When I say all of us, the pregnant woman who had broken her elbow and had it plastered in a beautiful purple cast was excused on the grounds of complete lack of arm use. Jane was along for the giggles and her husband/carer more than made up for her non-participation by energetic and successful bowling. Some of us other MSers were pretty good at not knocking down any pins (or two at most) each go. Not me of course. I only once failed to score anything, just the once. What’s the opposite of a strike?
A young man in the neighbouring lane spectacularly managed to get a strike – in a neighbouring lane. He vigorously hurled his ball down his lane, it bounced and went into the next door lane and knocked all the pins down. I couldn’t do that if I tried (and he probably couldn’t either).
I wasn’t absolutely the worst bowler but out of nine people I was third from bottom. Two people shared the lowest score so mine was pitiful but I did pretty well for someone whose legs had nearly given up after an hour. I’m not a competitive person but I don’t like to lose. I avoid too often taking part in activities where there are rights or wrongs. Bowling is strange because in theory, when you are good, you would get a strike first time, every time.
It’s the same with darts, you should be able to complete 501 in the same nine darts combination every time (T20 x 3 – T20 x 3 – T20, T19, D12 = 180 – 180 – 60, 57, 24) but even top professionals don’t. I used to play darts. My team (and I personally) won cups in our league. After a while I developed dartitis. Yes, it is a real condition and it led to many holes in my living room wall.
Less of a problem for me to develop dartitis than it was for professional darts player Eric Bristow but it did mean, like with my bowling, I was never going to achieve consistency in my arrows.
I agreed with one of the others last night that it was pure chance whether I scored well or not. I had no skill, particularly as bowling whilst holding a walking stick is tricky. Without technique, getting a strike was not so much a choice as a happenstance. I decided if it happens it’ll be by accident.
I wouldn’t bet on me and that’s not just because I don’t gamble. None of us can know for sure what our future will hold. I didn’t know I would get MS. I couldn’t have called it. The coin toss clip from No Country for Old Men has particular resonance with me -
To use another film clip, Trainspotting - contains swear words I would still choose life even though there are no even bets. So much in my life is a game of chance – castings where you can never be sure what the director is looking for, health issues where you can be fine one moment and pretty much laid flat out the next, relationships where you think everything is going well and then…. If it happens (whatever it is) it’s by accident.