Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Great Night of Bowling Derailed

I have been sitting on this story since the second week of bowling (September) but have not written about it. Each week I think it won't happen again and for the past three it has been a non point. Last night though, while having the best night of the year, it happened again.

The first game last night I started with a spare and then had seven strikes in a row before getting a couple spares for a 250something game. The second game wasn't as good, but I had fixed the mistake and was confident for the third game. Then it happened.

If you have followed my blog since last April you may remember the ordeal I had at the Saint Louis Blues game. The tap on the shoulder from a person outside my visual range is still an issue and for some reason it has happened quite often at the bowling alley.

As the third game was about to start a person who always wants to know how I am bowling came up behind me as I was talking about the Daytona 500 with my team and tapped me on the shoulder several times. Each time the approach is like this I am practically unable to talk as the anxiety flows through my body. My pulse picks up and I feel as if I could run three marathons in a row because there is so much energy in my system after this.

Ever since the first time this happened I wanted to tell the person, "Please don't tap me." but I am unable to. Why? I don't really know. I do know asking for things is highly difficult and I don't want to make the person mad. In my willingness to not make him mad though I keep getting tapped on the shoulder and having these episodes.

After this tap I tried to settle back in, but when one's heart rate accelerates rapidly and there is a shot of adrenaline one's state of mind will not be what it was beforehand. After being clean for the first two games I had four opens in the first five frames and I don't remember my final score but I think it was under 140.

What aggravates me today about this is that I have the power to stop this. I could so easily state, "Please don't..." but I haven't up to this point. Before you yell aloud of how simple the solution may seem let me tell you that I feel picking the 7-10 split is easier than asking for something. So often other people on the spectrum will have a situation like this and they will not confront the issue. Over time the tension builds and what could have been a simple fix by stating, "Please don't...." turns into something more severe.

I can tolerate the taps on the shoulder without any other behaviors except having my bowling scores do way down. For me this is easier than the solution, but I never have been good at advocating for myself. What I do hope you understand from this is that when things bother us it is very difficult to simply state what it is and what we would like. I just hope in the future this never happens as I am nearing a perfect game.


  1. I just started reading this blog tonight and would think I was reading about my autistic son age 19. He is an avid bowler. In his last travel league seines he bowled 140 but the team won. In the second game he bowled a 256 Five strikes to start a split spare and then 4 to end. Teams tied. Then a game with 8 strikes in a row after a bad start and a 251. Team lost. Seems like the reverse of the blog. Problem is he can not really explain what changed His average in to leagues 199 197 and rising.


  2. I have a few problems maintaining mindful bowling as well.

    Having said that I am looking forward to next Friday, where there will be a non-invasive/intrusive bowler in my competition.

    That sudden presence! Maybe make a signal to call attention that it is sudden, and get one other person to see it.

  3. Hmm... I have to say, I'm usually that person who taps people on the shoulder and this really makes me think...
    The ironic thing is that my reason for tapping on the shoulder is also out of being scared of making someone angry. Sometimes I forgot a person's name and instead tap them on the shoulder as to not show I forgot his/her name, as that usually makes someone angry. (sorry people! I'm just bad at names! >.<)
    Another reason is when I'm very uncomfortable and sensory overloaded, I become scared of starting a conversation and suddenly don't KNOW how to start it or when to break someone's conversation with someone else. So instead I tap on the shoulder to get attention, so I don't have to think of a starting line, but can just state whatever needed stating.
    I'm wondering now if there are more people who don't like the tapping (I have a lot of friends who are on the autism spectrum too! I might actually have startled them!) and most important of all: how else to solve my problem of starting a conversation?
    Anyone any thoughts on this?

    PS: I've had a fever for over a week, that's why I'm late with reading and commenting