Okay, lately I've been helping a lot of souls leave this world and move on to the next. It is worthy work but can be tiring. Since the action seems to have slowed down a bit, I need a little change of pace. The Olympic games have given me that "grounded in the body" quality that I need to feel right now.
Way back in the mid-1980s and early 90s, there was a big push to get bowling accepted as a medal sport. We never got any nearer than being granted Exhibition Sport status. Exhibition sports are allowed to perform, for entertainment purposes only, in the games just prior the United States Olympic Committee, USOC, voting, for or against, acceptance on medal status eligibility in the games four years down the road. It is all very political and each sport needs people in high places on their side.
Bowling was voted down. Even though I don't bowl anymore, I still think it is a great game. To me, the best thing about it is that it can be played by most anyone. To the Saturday night beer and pizza crowd, it is a game. To the elite player, it is a game of physics and perfection. But in the end, I think that is exactly what led to the demise of the pursuit.
Although almost every country in the world bowls, it was hard for the powers that be to see it as a world class sport. But if you've ever competed in the upper echelons, you know that it is an extremely difficult and complicated game. One nano-error can cost you your 200 average and send you on a long, lonely ride home without a paycheck. Unlike many sports, in bowling, amateurs can make money without becoming a professional. If you be not perfect, you be penniless in your pursuit.
In the early 1990s, I had an opportunity to spend a week at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A chance of a lifetime I did not let pass. It was training for a tiered coaching program that was developed in preparation for Team USA Bowling. We attended conferences with Olympic sports psychologists, biomechanists, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and professional bowlers and coaches. Good friends were made. Good times were had.
My friend, "T"
Even though we couldn't get bowling into the games, I am still proud to have been a part of that time in history. Just trying to get a sport accepted into the Olympics is an Olympic feat unto itself.