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Grand Rapids Christian High School

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Eagles Athletics

Grand Rapids Christian High School

Eagles Athletics

Grand Rapids Christian High School

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1 month ago @ 11:58AM

Levi Heerema Bowls 300

Guest Report by Larry Borst

Levi Heerema bowls 300

A few years ago the following was written about Levi Heerma’s older brother, Elijah, when he nearly got a 300 game in bowling match:

The news from the Bowling team is dwarfed by Elijah Heerema.  Elijah’s first game yesterday against Wayland started out with four strikes.  At this point everyone thinks he has a 300 game going but no one says anything.  Three more strikes in a row brings him to seven.  Now people start to whisper, "did you see Elijah's game?"  But it is bad etiquette to do this in a visible way as you try to keep the pressure off the poor lad; so everyone tries to act extra regular....if that is even a thing.  Eight. Nine strikes in a row.  Pressure builds.  Three strikes from a perfect game.  Now people feel free to notice and applaud but still obey the strict rule of leaving Elijah alone. Elijah just talks to Joey Diemer and Joey looks like he is talking about just another day in the park.  Elijah gets the next one.  Ten strikes in a row, two to go.  Then, in the eleventh frame he leaves two pins standing.  He seemed Ok....I was not.  I was crushed.  Warm applause all around.  He ended with a 288 and a 300 somewhere on the horizon yet to come.  His last ball was a strike and the first two of the next game were strikes.  I hesitate to point that out because it seems like salt in the wound.  It is, however, meant admiringly. 

But enough about Elijah.  And enough about Elijah’s older brother Nolan who narrowly missed a 300 a few years before (he needed a long walk outside the bowling alley after that one). And enough about Jason Heerema, our Athletic Director who loves bowling and has never scored 300 in all his many, many years.  And enough about  anyone else in Levi’s family.  Excellent bowlers though they are; Levi is the first to score 300.  What words capture this?  What can one say?  At times it seems language fails us, not because we lack the proper words but the joy is so great; how can words capture it all?   At times like this words from other languages may help.  Other languages might be more nuanced but, let’s admit it,  just saying the words in another language signals that this is special (and maybe appealing to other languages make the speaker sound smart...there is a little ego in all of this).  Three words help me here:

  1. Pihentagyú from Hungarian literally means “with a relaxed brain.”  It describes people that can remain relaxed under extreme pressure. Rumor is that as Levi was getting closer and closer to a perfect game fellow bowlers did not completely obey the strict rules of bowling etiquette that demand that spectators pretend nothing unique is happening.  Levi felt like he might get a 300 that day. He was able to keep this in the back of his relaxed brain.  All that takes pihentagyú.  And relaxed brain acts as a foil to the building and impending joy making that joy all the greater. 
  2. Ramé from Balinese means something at once chaotic and joyful.  What could be more chaotic than a bowling alley that again somehow acts as a magnifying contrast to the joy of it all.
  3. Eucatastrophe is a word I think was made up by Tolkein.  A catastrophe hits you with a negative jolt of doom.  Adding “eu” from the Greek meaning “well” or “good” turns this jolt into a sudden and favorable set of events that pierces you with a joy that brings you to tears.  

It also helps that there is video of this event. Watch it.  Levi is pihentagyú itself.  Those around him are as much fun to watch as the perfect game.  They are pierced by an eucatastrophe.  Ramé abounds.

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