If you haven’t bought your own bowling ball before then I think it’s time we talked a little bit. Even if you have bought a bowling ball before it’s still something worth thinking about. I can think of a number of reasons that might make us hesitate to buy our own ball. It’s similar to any type of commitment we might make, big or small. So, I urge you to look at it this way and consider some of the reasons why you should get one after realizing what may be stopping you now.
Your own bowling ball is a wonderful thing because it allows you to express your individuality and personal style at the bowling alley. When you have the freedom to get the best bowling ball for you, there are numerous possibilities waiting for you. You could choose to go for clear bowling balls, a pitch black bowling ball, or even a skull bowling ball if you’re so inclined. It might seem like a small thing, but we all know that the balls at the bowling alley are pretty bland and boring. You might be surprised at the amount of additional satisfaction that comes simply with bowling with something unique. Other people notice too. When there is something unique rolling down the lane it stands out among the other plain color palette of objects. It just makes things more fun.
Let’s talk about some of those reasons that might be holding you back. Purchasing an item as simple as your own best bowling ball might seem like a simple thing, and that just goes to show how powerful subconscious barriers can be sometimes. These barriers might be easier to see when we think about larger things, like a house for example. Before I bought my first home, it just seemed like something I wouldn’t consider. Since I had never had one before the concept of buying one just seemed separate from my personal reality. I had always rented so I naturally looked around for the next type of rental that I might be interested in when I was ready to move again.
A friend at work asked me if I was going to buy a house soon. He asked it as if it was something he would expect me to do naturally, and even seemed to be surprised that I hadn’t already done so. I told him that I hadn’t really thought about it, but in fact I was thinking about moving and I had just been out recently looking for a new place to rent. He explained to me that it might be worth thinking about buying a house because I had a stable job and as far as he knew I wasn’t planning on moving out of town anytime soon. He explained the general rule that if you think you’re going to live in a certain location for at least five years then it makes sense to go ahead and purchase a property. The five year time span accounts for the costs of buying a home like realtor commissions and closing costs.
As my friend explained this to me he surely had no idea that he was also convincing my future self to think about getting my own bowling ball, but he was. With the house, my persuasion was rather gradual. After my friend planted the seed of the idea of purchasing my own place, I started to mull over it a little bit. As I did this, I did some poking around on the Internet to see what type of houses were available in what areas of town. I started to check prices. I started to think about school districts for my kid. As I considered these various things the idea of purchasing a house gradually became part of my personal reality.
I believe that this same process could take place for you when you’re trying to get the best bowling ball. It might be something that you just never really considered before. After all it’s easy enough to go to the bowling alley and just use whatever is on the rack. But don’t you often find that you make small compromises even with the number of balls available at the bowling alley? It can be hard enough just to find a ball with the specific weight that you’re most comfortable with. But what’s even harder is finding one that fits your fingers well. Your finger position while bowling has a tremendous impact on your ability to do it well.
You may be thinking that it’s not a huge deal. After all we all know how busy we all are these days. It’s hard enough just to get to the bowling alley even very occasionally. So even if we get serious, are we even going to have enough time to enjoy it? This is a very common train of thinking. And if you’ll notice, this train of thinking focuses on the reasons why not to do something, in our case, why not to get a bowling ball for ourselves. Rather than look at the reasons for why not to do something, we should endeavor to think in terms of possibilities. We should open ourselves up to the unknown future. We may find that there are benefits to enjoy that we hadn’t considered before.
Think about it. What do you really have to lose if you get your own bowling ball? I would argue that you have very little to lose. Although you may know that there isn’t a lot to lose you may be held back by the idea of the commitment. If you get a new ball, especially that pitch black bowling ball or that UFO bowling ball that you know you’d love to own, and then you don’t use it, you’re going to feel bad about it and you might feel some constant pressure over it. This is natural. Most of us often give ourselves unnecessary pressure and stress without even realizing it. So, if we identify that this is a common, natural tendency, and consciously avoid doing it, then we can focus on the reality that there really is very little to lose.
Even irrational thoughts, though, tend to start from something that is a legitimate concern. In this case, it is true that you will need to spend a certain amount of money to get your own new bowling ball. This is a kind of investment. It’s an investment that you make in yourself to help yourself enjoy something that you know you want to do. So, if you make the investment, but you don’t capitalize on the return then it makes sense to experience a certain amount of regret about the decision. How do we resolve this? We resolve this by acknowledging from the beginning that we may not be able to make a total commitment to using the ball that we get as soon as we want to. In the worst case, we may not ever use it even once. If we decide that it’s okay, even in the worst case scenario, then we can move forward with our new idea without having any reservations about it.
At this point, we will have been able to reduce the issue down to the essence. The greatest possible risk is that we make an outlay of however much we decide to spend on our new bowling ball and we’re unable to use that money for something else that we might have wanted. But, what we’re not doing is we’re not binding ourselves to a personal non-negotiable contract to use this new item as much as possible. What we’re doing is we’re giving ourselves a chance to have the freedom to enjoy using this new item when it’s convenient for us. Do you think that giving yourself this chance is worth a couple of hundred dollars? I think it is. I think you’re worth it. I think we’re all worth it.
Let’s look at another potential concern. The first one was relatively easy to overcome because it’s just a mental barrier with very little legitimate barrier in reality. But this next one can be a little bit trickier. You might be hesitating because you might not know exactly what you want. And you might be concerned that you won’t know exactly what you want until you’ve already bought something that you realize later is not exactly what you want. Okay, that might have been a little bit confusing. Let’s look at another common example that most of us deal with.
Do you ever have trouble buying clothes? If your answer is ‘no’, then I would say that maybe you’re a visitor from another planet because it’s just not that easy. And clothes are a relatively small purchase, if we’re just talking about a new shirt or a new pair of pants. I know that I often have trouble choosing what I want to wear at the store. Even when I try it on and look at it in the mirror, I’m not sure if it’s going to be something I’m still into the next day, or the next week or month. Fortunately, with clothes, if you do experience some buyer’s remorse you can usually bring it back to the store for a full refund. And as much time as I spend on deliberating before a purchase, this is also not an uncommon experience for me.
So, what if you weren’t able to return that new addition to your wardrobe so easily? This is an important question to ask because it’s probably one that applies to your bowling ball selection. There may be online retailers or physical stores that will give a refund but they’re probably going to appreciate having to do that about as much as the department store does with your poorly chosen new trousers.
To this concern all I can say is that there tends to be two types of people. The first is the type that hesitates so much that they simply can’t make a decision, and eventually make no decision. They go home empty-handed. The second type of person realizes that they may not fall in love with everything they see at first sight so they make the best decision they can to get what they think they want and move on to see how it goes. I urge you to be like this second type of person.
If you decide to get a new bowling ball even when you’re not 100% convinced that it’s going to be your BBF (best ball for life), you might find that it grows on you with time. Or, you might find that you grow tired of it more quickly than you expected. If this happens, think of it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to get yet another new ball. And this time you are that much more likely to get one that you like because now you have the experience of having gotten one that you didn’t like so much. But if you had never got it in the first place, you would never know that you would eventually decide that you didn’t like it. So, there’s really only one choice here to make.
As I said, the problem of buyer’s remorse is real. I’m not going to try to say that you should just pretend like it’s not a concern of yours. It is, and that’s okay. But, hopefully we can acknowledge it and still move forward as we have to do with so many things in life. So, let’s talk worst-case. You go out on a limb and get a bowling ball and for whatever reason it ends up not being the best for you. Do you have to be traumatized by the experience of becoming a bowling ball owner for the first time and finding out that you weren’t able to do it with absolute success? No, you don’t have to be.
Like we mentioned, there’s still a possibility that the seller will allow you to make a return and help you get refunded for your purchase. Although this is not something they enjoy doing, they too are human beings and will probably understand that these things happen sometimes. If you bought it in an actual physical store, or better yet at a bowling alley (which is something that we’ve discussed before here on our site) then this is an opportunity to express yourself.
You can explain to the store manager that it was your first time buying a ball for yourself, or even your second or third time, and you just didn’t know that this one wouldn’t be right for you. You’re sorry that it didn’t work out and for the inconvenience that it might cause to the store, but you hope that they can understand your position. If you’re open and honest in this way, you can make a big difference in how the experience goes when you want to try to correct the error in your purchase.
However, there may be reasons why a store won’t take the ball back. Maybe it took you more than the 30-day return window to realize that it wasn’t the right one for you. Or maybe there simply is no return policy. If this is the case all is not necessarily lost. While that ball may not be the right one for you, it might be perfect for somebody else. And there may be people less fortunate than you that would be delighted to have an opportunity to use a ball even if it’s not brand new. What I’m saying is that you could consider donating or re-selling your ball. Often, bowling alleys themselves will be willing to take a used ball off your hands and find a new owner for it. If you go this route, then your mistake in getting a bowl can actually turn into a positive experience for building the connections among people who share enthusiasm for the great hobby at bowling is.
Until this point, we’ve talked about the various difficulties they can come when trying to decide whether or not to buy a bowling ball. That’s all well and good but where’s the fun in talking about buying something if you don’t look at all the good stuff too? So, let’s do that a little bit. Let’s have some fun because isn’t that what this is all supposed to be about?
We already talked about how a new ball can be your chance to show some individuality. But it can also have tremendous benefits in more practical ways to. Bowling is a sport that’s all about precision and consistency. So, it’s not hard to realize that if you use whatever ball is at the bowling alley every time you go it’s going be kind of hard to be consistent. Why is that? It’s because even though you may always go to the same bowling alley that stocks the same brand of ball on the racks, and even though you may always use the same weight, it’s going to be a challenge to always be able to use the exact same ball every time. And because the size and spacing of the finger holes varies widely from ball to ball it’s practically impossible to have any type of consistency in the one piece of equipment that you use when you bowl.
At this point again you may say that you don’t have enough chances to get to the bowling alley for it to make a difference anyway. Why does consistency matter if your actual physical participation in the activity is anything but consistent? This is a fair point. But again, I urge you to realize that this perspective focuses on limitations rather than possibilities. Maybe there will be a time when you are able to go to the bowling alley consistently. Maybe you’ll be able to go once a week, or even once a month. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself with this opportunity, don’t you want to be prepared to take advantage of it? Having your own bowling ball is not a burdensome commitment, it’s a liberating opportunity.
Think about it this way also. Maybe the reason you don’t go to the bowling alley consistently is because you don’t value it as highly as you could. You may view bowling as a luxury that you simply can’t make time to enjoy. But I would argue that something you do for leisure is just as important as anything else in your life. If you don’t maintain your sense of enjoyment on a day-to-day basis, life will become an endless painful austerity. If you feel that life is painful and austere you may become less able to use the time that you make for “necessities” optimally productive.
If you get a ball, and if you’re successful in getting the best bowling ball for you, then it may serve as just the thing you need to get you to the bowling alley more consistently. It may be the impetus for enabling you to more freely explore something that you really enjoy doing. And when you go more consistently, using a ball that is always the same one you may find unexpected improvements in your game. This could be truly exhilarating and could further motivate you to keep improving, and to enjoy the process as you do it. When you give yourself the opportunity to fully explore this enjoyment, the sense of enthusiasm will carry over into all aspects of your daily existence.
Right now, we’re only talking about what could happen for you yourself when you get a new bowling ball. But there are numerous possibilities for positive experiences if you, and say your partner, each got a new bowling ball. You may find that you enjoy bowling together more than you realized before. If you had always gone bowling only occasionally, and were always using different balls, never really getting better, you may have seen it as a somewhat enjoyable way to spend some extra time. But if you are able to improve your game together with someone else that’s close to you it could be extremely fulfilling for the both of you, and for the two of you together.
There’s a big difference between doing something as simply a somewhat enjoyable way to spend some time and doing something that truly becomes a source of accomplishment and discovery. This possibility is always there with any hobby, and bowling is no exception. But in order to find out whether this is something that’s waiting ahead for you, you have to go out on a limb a little bit. You have to try taking a step beyond what you you’ve already done before.
It may not turn out to be life changing. The ball may sit in your closet unused. But, at some point in time, you may decide to pull it out. And you may find that there’s a lot more in that bowling ball bag than just a heavy round piece of hardened plastic. You may find that a new part of yourself is waiting for you in that bag in the closet.