Neon and fluorescent light flood the cones of your eyeballs with a spectrum of color that is bright and intense as you wipe down the bowling ball with your microfiber towel.
You hold your hand over the air vent coming out of the ball return while mulling over your next shot.
Then you step on the approach and find your mark.
The ball is cradled in one hand with your other hand manipulating the pitch.
People to the left or right appear in your peripheral, but your eyes are locked on the set of arrows 20 feet down your lane.
Your first step is what determines your momentum going towards the shot. A step too slow and the ball won’t carry through, a step too fast and your ball hits the pocket low if at all.
“You’re out of your element, Donny!”
Recreation sports takes discipline.
It takes self-control.
Do you abide?
In “The Big Lebowski,” a Coen Brothers cult classic, Jeff Bridges stars as the Dude and the Dude abides, man.
The Dude abides by heavenly principles like turn the other cheek, and slow to anger but he pissed on my rug, man! He accepts life as it comes because ultimately, it’s out of our control.
A lot of the movie takes place in a dingy bowling alley and the characters we meet in the movie are fantastically hilarious. Bowling communities are an eclectic mix of humans from any and all walks of life.
Just like golf, you can be part of a bowling team but no one on your team is helping you swing the club or roll the rock. It’s all on you.
Much of life is the same. No one is going to do the work for you, people can point out what mark to use or change the speed of your ball but you’re the one who needs to do it.
Drinking is an integral part for most recreational activities and bowling alleys are notorious havens for drugs and alcohol.
It gets hard to bowl when your ball appears to have a twin. Self-freaking-control.
Can I pace myself?
Cut myself off?
Set solid boundaries?
Alcohol is the most widely accepted and used drug in the United States. It’s also one of the most abused. Alcohol is responsible for countless deaths from accidents to poor decision making a la liquid courage.
Part of my attraction to the Marine Corps came from an anonymous Canadian quote: “Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it was some kind of cult… Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond man’s normal limits, but their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and, generally speaking, of the United States Marines I’ve come in contact with, are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet.”
“Drink well beyond man’s normal limits…”
Amphibious green monsters.
Marines like to drink.
I like to drink.
Alcohol got me kicked out of security forces which landed me in the Fleet Marine Force much earlier than anticipated, thank God. People, such as myself, make poor decisions through slurred words.
Does anyone enjoy hangovers?
I enjoy that.
The laughing juice is also responsible for countless abuses of toilets and Tylenol.
My days of partying and youth are long gone and I had a blast, but I don’t miss it. Heed the words of an aging Jarhead, please.
I like to be able to drink, get my buzz on, and then buzz off to bed shortly after.
We must know thy element and doth not venture outside thee.
To all the Dudes and Dudettes, we must abide by the laws of self-control.
Jared Prewitt is a husband, father, marine, author, carpenter/teacher/coach, and lover of great stories.
Jared was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He participated in the Battle of Ramadi (Iraq) as a Designated Marksman from 2006-2007 and as a Squad Leader in the Battle of Garmsir (Afghanistan) in 2008.
After being honorably discharged in 2009 having served five years, Jared moved to Colorado and married in 2011. He has a Bachelor’s in Business and a Masters in Writing. You can find him bowling, golfing, camping, hunting, or fishing when he’s not around his family.
Check out his other work on Instagram @cold_steel_collective or at www.jareprewittwritesstuff.com.