73947_431136866943751_1834783466_nEminem famously rapped, “If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment. Would you capture it? Or let it slip?”

My coach has told me many times that this song is the song that pumps him up before a competition. It’s become one of my favorites as well. Something about the combination of the beat and the lyrics makes me want to compete. This song played in my headphones before every college tournament this season. My teammates rolled their eyes when they saw me because they knew what I was listening to.

This song has a lot of different meanings for me and it changes as I get older. A few months ago, as I listened to this song, I dreamed of throwing shots to earn a spot at the USBC Intercollegiate Championships. That had been my dream since my freshman year and I thought that if I didn’t achieve my goal that I’d be devastated.

USBC Intercollegiate Championships take place next week and I won’t be there. Am I disappointed? Yes a little, but not as disappointed as I thought I’d be. Are you wondering why? It’s all because I seized my moment.

My last college tournament was the USBC Intercollegiate Sectional Qualifier in Allentown, Pennsylvania. My coach and my amazing boss, Diandra Asbaty, provided me with mental game tips the week prior to the tournament. I was the most mentally prepared that I had ever been in my life.  As we started the 7 1/2 hour drive to Allentown, I was ready for whatever happened. I was ready to execute the best possible shot every time I threw the ball.

When the competitions started, I made a few mistakes but for the most part, I threw every shot like I meant it. The results showed it. We don’t have stats from my Friday single competitions but during the team competitions my strike percentage was 51%, my spare percentage was 75%, and my single pin spare percentage was 92%. The spare percentages were the highest they had been all season. It felt good to finally throw it the way I felt I should have been all season. All the pressure was gone. It was just me, my team, my coach, and the lane.

Though the team had a strong start, it became clear that we weren’t going to Nationals early in the competition. The realization that my last tournament of my college career was here was terrifying. Especially on the second day of competition. Especially going in to that last set. Especially going into that last shot.

I can’t even describe the emotions that I had. Bowling is my life. It’s who I am and I love the game. Bowling in college has been the best thing that I’ve done in my life so far and it almost didn’t happen at all. The memories from my four years will stay with me forever. The places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, and the tournaments I’ve bowled are amazing memories. I’ve seen pain and I’ve seen happiness. I’ve been to the Freedom Arch in St. Louis, had birthday cake ice cream with real chunks of cake at Ice Cream World, made puppets out of mittens, watched one of my teammates get carried out of a tournament because she couldn’t walk on her knee, watched another teammate fall on her knee so hard that we weren’t sure she’d stand up, had complete mental breakdowns, made teammates smile, sang “hot and dangerous” with every turkey thrown, and loved every single moment. As a senior, you can look at the teams and pick out the other players that have been with you all four years. There’s a connection between you and these players because you’ve been through the experience together.

As I stepped onto the approach in that 10th frame, it was hard to focus. This would be my last frame of college bowling. I wasn’t going for a national championship, a 300 game, or even to move up a spot in the rankings but this frame mattered to me and everyone who was watching me. It mattered because it was the end. This was my moment.

I was throwing my favorite ball, my pink Storm Tropical Breeze (that smells like birthday cake). The first shot started hooking off my hand and I thought for sure I was going to leave a split. Luckily it didn’t and I nervously converted the spare. I took a four board move so that I was literally standing against the ball return to throw my last shot. I knew I had the team parents cheering me on. I knew I had my teammates. I knew I had my coach, who has taught me to love the game more than anyone else ever could. I threw it with all the confidence in the world and as I watched it skid, hook, and roll to the pocket, I knew it was a strike. It was an intense moment and I cheered as I turned around to my team who took turns hugging me as I came off the approach. I seized my moment and the tears fell. Lots and lots of tears fell.

I didn’t know that my amazing coach had asked a parent to record my last frame until after the tournament was over and my face was puffy from crying. I’m so grateful for this last minute idea. My moment with my team was forever recorded to watch for the rest of my life. College bowling changed my life and allowed me to bring out my passion. It also showed me that seizing everything you ever wanted isn’t always what you think it will be. Capturing your moment might not always be important to other people but it’s important to you and your people.

I’ll go forward in my life. I’ll continue to bowl and I’ll pour my passion into my career. I’ll make those people who cried when I struck on that last shot proud. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember my moment and the people, like my coach, who made it possible.

Watch my moment from my last tournament. What’s your moment? Leave your story in the comments.