Bowler stays focused to achieve his goal

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
Airman 1st Class Nathan Smith grew up in a small farming community in Indiana. He was involved in his high school marching band, enjoyed baling hay and liked competitive bass fishing. He also bowled for his high school's bowling team - and bowled well.

"I've been bowling for five years," said Smith, a Joint Personal Property Shipping Office movement support technician. "I bowled all four years of high school and in my squadron league last year after being assigned to JPPSO."

Anyone familiar with bowling knows that a perfect 300 score is one of the sport's rare accomplishments. Many very good bowlers never bowl a perfect 300.

"I've had a few close 300 games," said Smith. "I bowled a 278 before. It is very difficult to do."

But as Smith began bowling strike after strike for his unit's bowling team Oct. 9, people who were at Hanscom Lanes began to get the sense that something rare was about to happen.

"I could see that people began whispering and pointing at the monitor," Smith said. "I just stayed focused on keeping my routine."

As many young people do, he spent his time between balls texting back and forth with a friend.

"Once I got to the fifth strike, then the eighth strike, I kept reminding myself to stay focused," Smith continued. "I've seen this guy from my hometown bowl a 300 a few times. He taught me a lot about staying focused, staying calm and keeping my routine."

A routine he would need to come out of to finish strong.

"I had to come out of my routine for the final three strikes," said Smith. "On the last ball, as soon as it left my hand, I knew it was going to be a strike. It had the same rotation, same spin and it felt great coming out of my hand."

As soon as the pins exploded, the gathered crowd followed.

"It got real quiet on the last ball," said Smith. "Then as the pins fell, I turned around and people were clapping and congratulating me."

After first calling his parents, Smith called his high school bowling coach to tell him the good news.

"He said he knew I could do it and knew I would stay focused and have a strong attitude," Smith said.

His parents were excited, as well.

"My mom sent out an email to a bunch of people and courtesy copied me so that the replies would come back to me, too," Smith continued. "I've gotten a lot of emails, phone calls and texts from friends back home congratulating me."

By most bowling standards, achieving a perfect 300 is a lifelong dream. For Smith, it's the first part of a larger goal.

"I want to someday bowl a 900 - three perfect games in a row," said Smith. "That would be incredible."