|The object of the game of bowling is to knock down as many pins on one ball as possible. That necessitates
taking a ball, weighing around 15 or 16 pounds, throwing it down a lane 60 feet long and hitting two pins
approximately 10 inches apart(the 1-3 pocket). The ball can move at many different angles and speeds. It is up
to the bowler to place the ball in precisely the right spot on the lane, at precisely the same speed and angle
each and every time the ball is thrown during the game. Some people just aim at the pins, not really caring
whether the ball hits the 1-3 pocket or not. Others, myself included, take the game much more seriously. If you
don’t hit that 1-2 pocket, generally you don’t strike.
Common strategy is to aim at a round dot about ½ in diameter, placed on a one inch board, at a spot, between
12 and 15 feet down the lane. All things being the same each time, if I hit that target, the ball will then hit the
pins exactly where I want it to hit in order to knock down all ten pins. The laws of centrifugal force take over once
the ball has left my hand and is on the way towards the pins. In other words, once I have done my best to affect
the movement of the ball, the results are out of my control. The ball actually only hits four of the pins in the rack,
the 1, the 3, the 5, and the 9 pins.
Other factors that play a part in how the ball reacts on the lane are the lane surface, whether plastic or wood,
the age of the lane, and the type and amount of oil that is placed on the lane by the person who maintains the
lanes. Weather conditions inside and out can make the oil move around on the lane and the reaction of the ball
one time might not be exactly the same reaction fifteen or twenty minutes later.
One additional factor is an area of very hard material inside the bowling ball referred to as the weight block. It
can be any one of several types, sizes, shapes and weight. At this point you just about have to have a degree in
physics to figure out all the different ways of drilling the holes in the ball to know how the ball will react when
thrown. I can’t help but make the comparison between the way we function in life to all the different factors in
trying to throw a strike in bowling.
The lane surface is where we live, where we work, where we go to school, all the places we go. The oil
pattern, one of the things that affects the movement of the ball, are all the circumstances that come in to play in
our lives to affect how we live and how we react. The different environments we are surrounded by each and
every day of our lives. The speed of the ball is something the bowler can control. Likewise, the speed with
which we move through life is something over which we have control. We can choose to rush though the days
of our lives or we can choose to move at an even, methodical, deliberate pace taking time to absorb all that life
has in store for us. We can even choose to move at a snails’ pace, never being concerned about anyone else
or anything else around us.
I believe we can see ourselves as the ball. Moving down the lane of life, affected by the circumstances and
influences around us, adjusting the speed of our movement to conform with the way life moves around us.
We, at least those of us who believe in God, should always have our eyes focused on the target, heaven.
That leaves only the one part of this comparison. That is the weight block inside the bowling ball. I can’t begin
to tell you just how many different sizes and shapes of weight blocks there are. Perhaps several hundred or
even thousands as the manufacturers tinker with ways to make the ball do different things on the lanes. I
mentioned earlier that a degree is physics is somewhat helpful here. To realize what different drilling patterns
can do to the movement of the ball you have to understand some of the laws of physics.
Allow me to take this example just a bit farther. I will try to do so without totally confusing both of us. There are
several factors bowlers look at when purchasing a ball and several factors that affect the way a bowling ball
reacts on the lane. One of these factors is called the “radius of gyration”. This is a property that ultimately
determines how easy it is for a ball to rotate. Relative to the center of the ball it is a measurement of where the
weight is located inside the ball. It tells us how objects rotate. It tells us how much torque must be exerted on
the object to get it spinning at some rate, or how much energy it has when it is spinning at some rate. So a
bowler can combine the type of weight block, surface material, oil on the lane and how much effort to put into
rotating the ball to make it do different things once the ball has been released.
We have a similar part of us that can be molded and shaped within our being to help and guide us down the
lane of life. God knows the correct drilling pattern for our lives and it is up to us to allow him to drill into our life
as he sees fit. I have a pro shop friend who drills all of my bowling balls. His name is Tony. I trust him to know
what is best for the type of ball I purchase so that if I hit the target I am aiming at the ball will react the same
each and every time I throw it. I am not perfect when I throw the ball, but it is up to me to do the best I can with
the knowledge I have. Likewise, if I am trying to do as God wants me to do, that is, remain focused on the
primary goal, I must let him take control of my life and guide me down the lane of my life. He knows the speed,
He knows the drilling pattern, He knows the shape of the weight block within my life, He knows all about all the
circumstances that I will come in contact with. Therefore, He will get me to focus on the target so that I will get
the strikes I need to make my life rewarding and fulfilling.