When my good buddy Mike Nape called me in June on the way home from his career-worst United States Bowling Congress Open Championships performance, he hit me with something I wasn’t expecting: a huge dose of perspective.
He told me about a young man named Nathan Weimer, who has overcome more in his life than most of us can imagine, and yet still is a champion bowler.
Weimer had just shot 1,811 all-events on the difficult conditions in Baton Rouge.
As Nape pointed out, a guy with Weimer’s challenges fought through to beat him so how could he complain about what he bowled?
That, folks, is perspective.
Nate was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was 3 months old. During his childhood, he endured multiple hospitalizations, procedures, and tests that culminated in needing oxygen 24/7 and a wheelchair by the time he was 8 years old.
He took a trip to Disney World for his Make-A-Wish (a great charity!) and at 9 had a double lung transplant. At 13, he became diabetic and is insulin dependent. At 16, he experienced kidney failure, went on dialysis for 6 months, and had a kidney transplant.
Today, while his kidney function is stable, Nate is in chronic rejection of his lungs and his lung capacity is around 50 percent.
Nate first began bowling in a league when he was 9, but three weeks into the season, he had his double lung transplant.
He returned to the lanes four months later bowling in a junior league with his sister. For the next few years, Nate bowled in recreational junior leagues, then took a few years off when the family moved out of state.
He resumed bowling in high school and hasn’t stopped since.
Nate, who is coached by Greg Zicha, bowled his first certified perfect game on March 2, 2012 at Fox Bowl in Wheaton, Ill., the center Nape manages.
In June 2011, Nate traveled to Sweden for the World Transplant Games and came home with a bronze medal in men’s singles in bowling.
In July of this year, Nate traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich. for the Transplant Games of America. He shot a 700 in men’s doubles and earned a gold medal and 602 in men’s singles to win another gold. He also earned a gold in 3-on-3 co-ed basketball.
The next time you have a tough day on the lanes and are angry or feeling sorry for yourself, think about Nate.
If that doesn’t ease your feelings, there is something wrong with you!