The great memories I have of Michigan summers and autumns are somewhat blunted by the painful recollections of the ballyhooed winters of the Great Lake State.   (I didn’t say any­    thing about spring because Michigan knows nothing of this season enjoyed by those in warmer climes.).   What are you supposed to do while  huddled around fireplaces trying to keep warm,  hoping that when Punxsatawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2 that it means there are only three more months of winter?  You bowl, that’s what.  Michigan is a state of bowling maniacs, so much so that many there forego the ritual of wearing rented shoes because they have their own.

In all this bowling it stands to reason that there are some who excel; after all, practice makes perfect.  Especially in the case of Robby Portalatin.  Portalatin lives in our former home of Jackson, Mich., which is a hotbed of bowling.  Even the denizens of Jackson, though, aren’t used to witnessing the kind of bowling done by this young man.   He rolled a 900 series―three consecutive perfect games of 300.   If you’ve ever bowled, you are shaking your head right now.  This effort certainly tops my best game of 191.  Portalatin threw 36 strikes in a row!  An absolutely perfect night of bowling.  And, more than likely, Portalatin did this in shoes he didn’t rent.

Maybe the reason this is so compelling is because perfection is such a rare and elusive commodity in this world and in our lives.  Even in something as banal as bowling, it just does not materialize very often.  How much less do we attain perfection in those endeavors that really matter?   How often do we succeed in being…

The perfect husband or wife?

The perfect father or mother?

The perfect son or daughter?

The perfect employer or employee?

The perfect friend or neighbor?

The perfect Christian?

Shakespeare wrote, “To err is human…”  No kidding.  Don’t you think we probably would have figured that one out on our own?  Living with imperfection is an area in which we’re all well-practiced.  Dealing with the disappointment of missing the mark and falling short of the goal is too familiar to all of us.  Maybe hearing about a rare perfect moment, though, will encourage us to try to have a few more such moments in the things that matter most.


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