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#522: A Dream Died Last Night

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bowling emoticon has been a large part of my life for more than 40 years. It has brought me accolades, trophies, tournament records, perfect 300 games, gold medals, TV appearances, and countless bowling friends along the way. I have bowled in tournaments across the country from California to New York, from Illinois to Florida. emoticon

But last night I had to say goodbye to a dream. emoticon

I started having back problems many years ago and suffered a back injury in 1995 while in law enforcement. That was aggravated over time and caused me to drop out of two bowling tournaments in 2005 (the first time ever not finishing an event) and in 2006 led me to retire from my job as a deputy sheriff.

From 2005 until last year I stopped bowling because the back pain was too severe. I had received and still receive injections, use pain pills, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. Finally, in the spring of last year I again felt the urge to bowl after catching up with friends at a Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) senior (50 years old or older) tournament in Central Florida.

I was encouraged by the number of friends in the tournament who wanted me to reinstate my PBA membership and bowl in the tournament when it comes back to Central Florida this April.

With that in mind I began practicing, bought updated bowling balls, took lessons and joined joined a league last summer, continuing with the same team when the current league began last August.

At first there were many shots when back cramps hit but over time they became fewer and fewer. My confidence soared and my scores kept rising. But over the past month the cramps have returned and I can not have more injections for six months.

That's okay I told friends. Even if I finish last I still want to compete against the best this April. I worked out, watched what I ate, dropped 40 pounds and after having a terrific month of league last month, felt I was about ready. Still not at peak performance and far from the level I have been used to, but confident I might not finish last. emoticon

Then we bowled league tonight. In game two the back acted up. I had felt a tweak on Tuesday during practice but as we started tonight I felt strong. I managed to finish game two but then could barely walk during game three and almost gave up half-way through as the pain brought tears to my eyes. Since we had the game's win locked up, I continued and finished the game, ashamed at my low score.

Now, as I wait for the pain pill to kick in, I am forced to face the truth -- there is no way I can compete in more pro tournaments, bowling 30-50 games in a few day's time, when sometimes I can hardly walk, like last night.

So my dream of again being a high performing competitor has died. The goal I have worked toward for almost a year is no longer within reach. Short of surgery, which has no guaranteed positive results, there is no more I can do to be able to bowl at the level I am used to and at which I would need to be to compete.

Now I sit here, sad, disappointed and frustrated.

My eyes are again filled with tears, as much from the pain as from knowing my dream is no more. emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I also would recommend the book by Peter Egoscue (Pain Free). It's available on Amazon.com for about $11. Well worth the money. Read the first 3 chapters then jump to the chapter on back pain before reading the rest of the book. It's a very low cost, low risk method to feeling better.
    3268 days ago
    Oh Lou so sorry to read this. I feel your pain, how hard is that. You have lost 40pound while training, that is a positive. I know you won't be sad for long, but it must be hard. emoticon
    3314 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4243811
    Lou, I am so very sad to hear about your back. I cannot imagine the mental anguish you are dealing with. My prayers are with you.
    3315 days ago
  • JEWELS571
    3325 days ago
    I am very sorry to read that you have to give up something that you love. I hope your back will get better. I wanted to mention something that may help you regain your back health without surgery, not that it will help you return to bowling, but just to be able to live a healthy, pain-free life again. It's a book by Pete Egoscue with the title "Pain Free". It has helped many people avoid back surgery and if you are a very determined, self-disciplined person (and you must be) this would possibly work very well for you. Also google the website which has exercises that will help deal with back pain within a couple of days and many people get significant relief within hours. It's all about correct alignment and letting gravity help with that.

    3328 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    emoticon Sorry to hear this!
    3331 days ago
    :=( so sorry Lou. Just a little idea for you to chew on. How about a dream revision? Creative thinking and tweak the plan a wee bit. I am not going to pretend I know anything about bowling, but with all of my chronice injuries I have learned to adapt and revise my dreams and goals. Just something to keep in mind, xoxo Victoria
    3333 days ago
    Wow, this has got to be hard. Have the carrot dangled in front of you and have it snatched out of your reach. I understand your wariness of surgery too...so many things can go wrong with that. I did have to smile when you mentioned losing 4 - 16 pound balls. I haven't bowled in years (except for Wii), but I have my father's 16 pound bowling ball and just dug it out. Most people are shocked when I tell them I bowl with a 16 pound ball. He had an extra hole drilled in his because it helped his back and arms. I will have to take it and go bowling this weekend. Good memories!
    I wish you the best in finding something to take up the slack mentally and physically from your bowling. They say time heals all wounds and this is definitely a wound.
    Take care.
    3333 days ago
  • FLGIRL1234
    Oh Lou, I know this has to be so hard for you right now. It just doesnt seem fair that our bodies can't keep up with where our minds are. Maybe you can still be a part of the sport but in some other form. Coaching a league or being involved with the organization. Keep your head up.

    emoticon emoticon
    3333 days ago
    Lou, I can't imagine how it must feel to give up on a dream you have worked so hard to achieve. When these things happen to non-believers they have no where to turn for comfort; but we have the ever-present, open arms of our loving Lord and Saviour who has been through every disappointment and heartache common to man. So take it all to Him and He will show you what He will use to fill that void you now have and I believe it will be more fulfilling than bowling 1000 perfect games.

    God bless

    emoticon emoticon
    3335 days ago
    I feel so very sad for your heartbreak Lou. After many back situations over time,I understand your frustration of limitations. I hope you can work through this disappointment and find another passion to fill the void. emoticon
    3335 days ago
    I am sorry for your loss of a dream, Lou.
    I hope your back returns to a pain-free status - and that you will soon find new pleasures to enjoy.

    3336 days ago
    Lou - I am so sad to hear of this. I hope your back heals quickly. It is tough to give up on our dreams.

    Hang in there my friend! I'm keeping you in my thoughts and in my prayers.

    Your pal,

    3336 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11035818
    3337 days ago
    Oh Lou, I am so sorry for your loss.

    3337 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    I am so sorry about the pain Lou!

    But, I know it sounds shallow at present, but things
    happen for a reason.

    Now, you just need to have a new dream. I can't
    pitch shoes like I used to and loved to and won
    trophies and such, but I continue to dream new
    dreams. All is NOT lost!

    Let it sink in, absorb what you can, let it go, as you
    must & get on with a wonderful new dream.

    3338 days ago
    Lou, I'm SO sorry! Let's HOPE there will be bowling in heaven and you have GOBS of 300 games! {{{huge hugs}}}}
    3338 days ago
    I am really sorry to hear that. I understand all too well how it feels when a door closes that we thought had more time on it...

    Nothing wrong with having a spell of 'mourning' for the past, and when you're done - when you're ready - you will find doors that you can open, I am sure.
    3338 days ago
    Sorry Lou, I hope your back heals for you so you won't be in so much pain. My father loves to bowl too and at 80 he did not bowl this year due to arthritis in one knee...his sliding knee. It hurt to much for him to continue....now he plays pool in a couple of leagues instead. Hope you feel better.

    Wendy emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3338 days ago
  • CHARMIN944
    I'm so sorry about your loss, Lou. I can relate. My back is keeping me from doing the things I want to do.

    Keep your faith in the Lord. He has plans for you and is making a way for you to achieve them.
    3339 days ago
    I know it is not quite the same, but I love the WII Sports Bowling game. I am unable to hold a real bowling ball any more, but I can bowl with the WII, and I do better than I ever did in the lanes. I was never good enough to join a league--I was lucky to break 100 most times, and only had one or two strikes---but on the WII I have broke 200 and had at least one strike in every game.
    Sometimes we really do have to listen to our bodies and adapt.

    3339 days ago
    I am not at all certain that surgery is your last option, Lou, or that giving up bowling is a definite. I had to give up a lot for the last few years because my old back and hip injuries (which were severe) were causing me too much pain and I couldn't keep them stabilized. I had given up on many of my physical activities and thought it would only get worse with age.

    What helped:

    Physical therapy and maintaining my PT exercises after PT was over

    Regular chiropractic care from a good chiropractor


    I am not certain if any one of these were the magic bullet or if it was all of them working in tandem. It took a couple of years but now I'm back to pretty intense weight lifting and no back issues.

    3339 days ago
    Awwww... LOU! emoticon

    I am so sad for you!

    I don't even know what to say!

    Big, big hugs, my friend! I love you!
    3339 days ago

    I'm sorry to hear that you won't be able to bowl any more since it was a big part of who you are and what you love to do. Maybe you can hang out with your friends at the alley some times to stay in touch with them.

    emoticon Linda
    3339 days ago
    Lou, I am sorry you're having to let go of this cherished dream. God has plans for you, and I've read a few comments of ideas of how you can turn your dream into a dream for others. God bless you.
    3339 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    I'm sorry too Lou. Letting a dream go, after you've done so much to achieve it, is a tough thing to do. I imagine you're feeling angry at your body right now. Grieve the loss, then let the pain go. Releasing one thing always makes room for another.
    3339 days ago
    Aww, Lou, this is terrible. emoticon I know that you love bowling so much, and this must feel like such a low blow. I don't even know what to say because I know that nothing I say can help you be able to bowl again, and that is really what would bring your joy back. I sincerely hope that you will be able to get through this and find some other activity to focus on that will keep your heart light...

    Ah, I'm just rambling... I wish I knew the right thing to say! Love and prayers are headed your way, my dear friend! emoticon
    3339 days ago
  • BOVEY63
    I am so sorry Lou and wish there was something I could do to make you feel better.
    emoticon emoticon
    You do have so much to offer others and I am sure you will find something that fulfills you - like your work with teens, motivational writing, etc.

    Take care my friend.
    3339 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6035648
    Aww.. so that's what your status was about.. It is hard saying goodbye to something you once loved doing. But, you can always dream a new dream! Ok, maybe you can't bowl a whole lot anymore, but you can teach others! What about getting involved with a boys/girls club and teach kids who wouldn't even have the opportunity to step into a bowling alley how to bowl? Passing on your knowledge and experience and your love for the sport is a good way to honor the memory of your dream! Think about it!
    3339 days ago
  • MISSM66
    Sorry to learn of your bad news Lou,but don't give up hang in there and take good care of your self,I will keep you in my prayers. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3339 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4114015
    Lou, my heart goes out to you! I know what you speak of, I had back surgery in 1986 and again in 1988 on the same l5 disc. I never was a bowler, but I know how my back is to this day in certain reaching or twisting situations. It is not worth it to jeopardize your health no matter what!

    I have been and will continue to pray for you! God Bless you! emoticon
    3339 days ago
    Lou, my heart is breaking for you. I was never a great bowler but I was a good bowler, only once ever having a 300 game. Then I had back surgery in 1984 and have never been able to bowl again. Praying for you that something positive can be done for you.
    Blessings and hugs,
    3339 days ago
    emoticon Lou.
    I'm so very sorry. Having to bury a dream is a very hard thing to do.
    Facing the fact that we're getting old(er) is also a very hard thing to do.
    Please hang in there and continue to be good to yourself.
    3339 days ago
    This is a major bummer, Lou. Very sorry to hear your news.
    3339 days ago
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