Getting to ride the rollercoaster

I had the privilege of bowling in a big, national tournament last week alongside a team that has a shot at winning it every year. Thousands of teams enter and these guys are good enough to have a legitimate chance at winning every year.

A couple of the guys are aging. They feel they are past their prime. When they had six frames left, they still had a shot at winning this year’s event, but the spares were starting to roll out more than the strikes. I walked over to one of the aging gentlemen whose been in the situation many times and said, “You guys need to get the energy up over here! You still have a shot at this.” He just sort of shrugged it off.

Eventually, they wouldn’t finish quite as strong as they started and wouldn’t take the lead at the tournament. Later on, the same person said to me, “That’s why I can’t get excited. It’s the same story every year.” What he meant is “We always come close, then fall short.”

This event contains the best bowlers in the country. Thousands of them all competing for the same prize. I would estimate there are about 25-50 teams that have a strong shot at winning every year because their players are much better than the rest. With those kinds of odds, even being a strong team, it’s not likely to win more than 1-2 times in a lifetime, though coming close every year is possible.

It’s a privilege to get to ride that rollercoaster. To have a skill level, and teammates to match that put you in a position to win even if the probabilities are that you won’t take the top prize every time. It should still be exciting. It should still fill you with joy. It should still make you feel like, “We’ll get ’em next year.” when you just barely miss.

Riding the rollercoaster is an opportunity, a privilege, and a great time. It should be seen that way.