Tag Archives: holiday fun

Pride and Perseverance: A Tale of Ten Pin Bowling

Remember how I talked about not having family traditions a while back? Well, one of our family non-traditions is to give Big Brother the opportunity to choose two special family outings each school holidays. During the June/July holidays we went to the zoo and saw a movie at the cinema. For the September/October break, he asked to go to the museum/art gallery and Ten Pin Bowling.

On Friday we went bowling.

Big Brother has been excited about this for months. He’s talked about little else since the holidays started. And finally, the day came. We paid for two games, changed into trendy bowling shoes, chose our bowling balls, and got comfortable in our lane. My husband and I had our first bowls, and then it was Big Brother’s turn. Finally.

He was happy. Confident. Sure he’d get a strike. Why? Because when we visit his grandparents, he plays Wii Bowling and it’s nothing for him to get eight or nine strikes per game. So despite my cautioning him that it was a bit different when playing for real, he was sure he was an expert.

He picked up his bowling ball. (“It’s very heavy, Mummy.”) He approached the lane. He realised he couldn’t swing his arm quite as enthusiastically as when he’s just holding a Wii remote. But he gritted his teeth, and bowled the ball.

It rolled forward slowly. Well, not so much forward as at a very sharp angle across the lane where it crashed into the bumper (because we’re not cruel enough to make him bowl without bumpers for his first games) and then wobbled along the lane to the end, dropped into the gutter, and hit nothing.

Big Brother watched it the whole way, his eyes glued to the ball as though he could make it go faster and straighter and better through willpower alone. When the ball vanished behind the intact pins, he turned to me with tears in his eyes and asked, “Do I get another try?”

After the fourth frame, Big Brother had three points and wanted to go home. “I don’t like bowling,” he said. “Can we just go home now?”

It broke my heart to see him so deflated, so clearly frustrated and upset. But I wasn’t ready to let him give up so quickly. “I know it’s frustrating, Sweetie. But if you want to get better at bowling, what do you need to do?” I asked.

“Practice and use Patience and Care,” answered Big Brother, quoting my usual mantra. He tried again. The ball wobbled a bit further than the previous time, then rolled along the bumper and dropped into the gutter. One pin.

Every time it was Big Brother’s turn, I encouraged him to give it his best shot. By the end of the game, he had 11 points.

We didn’t dwell on the numbers. We all high-fived each other and started game number two.

I have no idea how well or poorly I bowled during the next game. I barely even remember taking my shots. I was so focused on Big Brother; on encouraging him to keep trying, to keep practicing, to be patient and take care. And it was working. He was getting better. A bit. After nine frames, he had 15 points, so he’d already bested his previous game. But as far as he was concerned, one or two pins a frame wasn’t anything to get excited about.

My husband and I finished our games and Big Brother stepped up for his last bowl.

He picked up his ball and approached the lane, just like he had the last 39 times. He took a deep breath. I held mine.

He bowled. For the first time, the ball rolled straight down the centre of the lane.

Nine pins fell.

Tears sprung to my eyes and I cheered louder and longer than I have for any sporting triumph ever. My husband was on his feet yelling. Even Little Brother, who’d been sitting peacefully in his stroller watching the game, clapped and yelled excitedly.

Big Brother’s turned to look at us, a huge grin on his face. Then he started jumping up and down, laughing at pointing at the decimated pins. We cheered, we hugged, we high-fived. I’m sure the other bowlers thought we’d lost our minds.

On the way home, Big Brother asked if we could go bowling again next school holidays. We said yes. Then we told him how proud we were of him.

We weren’t proud that he’d knocked over nine pins. We were proud that he’d persevered; proud that he’d kept trying until his practice, patience and care paid off; proud that, despite his frustration, he’d never given up.

And I was so very, very relieved that everything had come together for him on attempt number 40. And also that he hadn’t knocked down all ten pins.

Because if he had, I probably would have burst into tears, then fainted.

Have you got a story about success through perseverance? 

(Bonus points if there are tears or fainting involved.)


Filed under Life With Kids

A Little Library Love

Photo by Ben GallagherLibraries seem to be having a bit of a tough time of it these days. With eReaders all the rage, and Google the Oracle of All, and Wikipedia the combined knowledge of the masses, there’s a lot of concern that Libraries are going to go the way of the Dinosaurs. Before you know it, we’ll be crashing giant, flaming meteorites into them and burying them under enough rock and ash that they’ll remain mostly intact for future generations to find and wonder at.

Last week, Ben Trube wrote a Vigorous Defense of Libraries and posed the question: How do you feel about libraries?

I tried to answer. I really did. But my answer was longer than his original post. (This happens more often than you’d imagine.) So I decided I should post my answer here, in my own personal space, rather than taking up all of his.

The short answer: I love my local library.


The long answer: I go to the library at least once every couple of weeks. Sometimes more. So, why do I love it?

1) Access to lots and lots (and lots) of books for free.

I realise this should go without saying, but it’s really the most important thing. I simply don’t have the money to buy every book I’d like to read.  So far this year I’ve read 42 books, all of which have been borrowed either from friends or from the library. If I’d purchased them all, that would have cost me at least $800.

Then there’s the books my five-year-old reads. He can easily go through 10 books every week. Without access to a library, perhaps he wouldn’t have the great love for books that he has.

2) Access to a wider range of books than you’d expect.

All the libraries in my district work together to ensure library patrons have access to a large quantity of books. Rather than all of them trying to stock every book (which would be impossible considering the cost-cutting going on), they co-ordinate their ordering process. Then they offer a service where you can request a book from another library, and it is transferred to your library within 48 hours for 60 cents.

Plus, you can use this service online from home — I just place my order and head to the library a couple of days later to pick up my books. How convenient is that?

3) Free computer use (for word processing) and cheap internet access.

Yes, I have a computer at home. Yes, that’s more convenient. But, you know what? I’ve done any amount of writing in the library when I’ve needed a different environment to get my brain firing. If I can escape to the library for a couple of hours, I have distraction-free writing time without internet access or a fridge in the next room.

4) School holiday programs.

My local library teaches everything from book-binding to poetry to writing to “make your own comic” in the school holidays. Plus they have a variety of shows and events — X-Box competitions, magic shows, giant board game days. It’s free, it’s fun, and it gives the kids a reason to want to go to the library. (Other than the obvious reason that it’s a room full of books!)

5) The librarians.

These are people who love books, who are paid to hang out in buildings full of books, and answer the same question over and over and over and over, day after day, with a friendly smile. Plus, they know stuff.

And not just stuff like: What’s the name of that book that I read ten years ago with a red cover and a clock on the front where the main character’s name is Jane?

Librarians can recommend books similar to those you’ve read before, tell you where to get information on a variety of topics, show you how to use the photocopier, teach you how to use the online book catalogue, and direct you to the restrooms, all while singing songs about teddy bears to a group of enthralled children and saving a cat from a burning building.

They’re just that good.

When was the last time you went to the library? Do you love your local library as much as I love mine?


Filed under Opinion, Reading