At the bowling lanes, Troy Ockerman used his music and an appreciative crowd to his advantage, as well as his ritual of visualization. Using his mind with his eyes closed, he programmed his body for the actions it would need to bowl three games: he visualized himself walking straight down the alley with the ball in his right hand, keeping his body low while dropping his eyes to a spot two feet ahead of him, going slowly into the backswing and, after five quick steps, projecting the ball to arrows on the floor leading to the 10 pins. In fact, he went further than visualizing what he would do he felt it all before it happened. I feel my walk, feel my arm, feel my release. I program the physical memory, the feelings I’m going to have. Some nights I have poor concentration, but the pregame mental programming seems to overcome it.
Ockerman rolled two consecutive strikes. Then a couple more. Each time I saw the pins tumble in my mind before I threw the next ball. Pretty soon the first game was over and Schulze had bowled very well, a 258. Taz shot 42 pins better. He’d bowled a perfect game 300 out of a possible 300 points.
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Troy’s next opponent was Jim Porter, who was in first place in the tournament. Something else to prove, I thought. Porter was to discover that Troy had enveloped himself in a Super Zone. T otally tuned into what he had to do, he was aware of what the ball would do for him even before he rolled it. And, after his mental visualization, he liked to do it fast. One second standing at the line. Five quick steps. High arm swing. Power and speed. Lots of spin. Urethane ball, go with God.
People have tried to slaw me down over the years, but it is a natural pace for me. Between shots, he deliberately didn’t concentrate. I do not want to lose the adrenaline, so I keep myself moving sipping a Diet Coke, tapping my feet to the music in my head, running back and forth talking to people, and joking with them. He looked around to find that other bowlers were congregating around his alley. When the second game started and he continued to throw strikes, the crowd began cheering for him. I felt another adrenaline surge. Physically I got stronger, my steps were faster, and there was more revolution on the ball. It got more powerful as it hit the pocket. I had to be careful I didn’t get too strong and fall out of my rhythm. Throughout his life, Troy has performed better while riding the crest of emotion. Under pressure, I tend to get myself pumped up for things. I think I’m more aggressive because I’m small.
Porter scored 237, well above his average, but it wasn’t nearly enough to derail Taz whose second consecutive 300 had now drawn quite a crowd of spectators. Next up was Wayne Bunce, the king of the bloody hill. If he thought he was going up against Ockerman’s usual 216 average, he had another think coming. After my two perfect games, I had him totally psyched. He had no chance.
It was all rhythm the rest of the way, to the beat of the electric guitar playing in his head. T roy stood at the line with his ball in his hand and brimmed with confidence, with the feeling, the knowledge that everything was the same as it had been the last time he’d stood at the line and thrown a strike, that he was inside a magical bubble. I didn’t really understand what was happening; I was focusing so much, I was almost out of it. Mentally, everything was dead. I didn’t hear the crowd much anymore. It was like a tunnel vision, a flow. Everything was flowing the same way it had before. My timing was perfect. My arm swing was a flow. My confidence increased and strengthened the rhythm, the flow, the tempo.
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