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The story Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever revolves around an inexperienced bowler named Bill Fong and the night he almost had a flawless shot that almost ended his life. Almost the whole narrative, Michael J. Mooney employs figurative and visually expressive vocabulary. His main goal is to captivate the reader's imagination and draw them into the nonfiction piece. The use of images enhances the reader's understanding of Bill Fong's run as a flawless 900 sequence and how it impacts his life. Mooney uses visual elements to create a suspenseful mood and to paint the picture of the character and his bowling techniques.
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Mooney describes Fong using the robot analogy, to show Fong’s dedication not to feel any emotion while bowling; however, the attitude only proves to provoke more emotion. On the fundamental level, the whole story is about Fong throwing the bowling ball and his desires to be the best. Mooney notably compares Fong’s human desired efficiency to that of a robot. He emphasizes that “He wants his body to perform a series of complex movements that his muscles themselves have memorized. In short, he wants to become a robot” (Mooney, Para 1). He had to keep his timing right, forget that he is human and become fully into bowling that is the only way he could become successful. The author points out that, “Fong’s fifth roll of the night isn’t so beautiful. His approach and release seem the same—he is becoming the robot—and the ball hit the pocket, but the pin doesn’t go down quickly. The ten pin is wobbling upright, teetering when Fong got what is called a “messenger.” From the left, one of the pins he’d just sent bouncing came back across the lane, clipping the ten just enough to knock it off balance” (Mooney, Para 12). At this point, the robotic attitude did not make a lot of progress as Fong expects. The description is useful in painting the picture of Fong with robotic attributes.
The author uses the dramatic, suspenseful and visual description of bowling techniques to relate to real live sports games. The reader’s emotions are activated to feel and have a sense of how the events went down at the Plano Super Bowl the night Fong was to become bowling number 22 regionally. Fong has mastered almost all the bowling skills and regularly jots relevant facts on his notebook to improve on his competency. He understands that the game delivery requires a sequence of events that should be performed correctly. This includes the set routine, back, and forward swing, walk up and the follow through. Mooney says, “48 years old, 6 feet tall with broad shoulders, pulls the ball into his chest and does a quick shimmy with his hips. He swings the ball first backward, then forward, his arm a pendulum of kinetic energy, as he takes five measured steps toward the foul line.” He also notes, “He releases the ball, and it glides across the oiled wooden planks like its floating, hydroplaning, spinning counterclockwise along a trajectory that seems to be taking it straight for the right-hand gutter” (Mooney, Para 2). This is a vivid description of Fong’s physical movements while throwing the ball. The readers are told to understand that bowling requires the engagement of the mind, body, and emotions just like any other sport out there. Fong needed to have his engagement styles for perfect bowling; he practices regularly so that he can realize his full potential on the game because bowling was his only passion.
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The visual details describing Fong’s bowling styles illustrates his abilities and developmental stage in the game and the emotions that develop when he fails to meet his target. As much as Mooney is concerned, Fong’s bowling skills are at proficiency stage for he can throw the ball in different locations of the lane picking up splits and strikes. Fong had already memorized the bowling techniques in his head and also the pre-shot routines in place. He times himself deletes all the details of his underachieved life and concentrates on what he loves doing most. Mooney points out that, “As he sends strike after strike down the lanes, he begins to feel magical. The way he was commanding the balls to turn and burrow into the unsuspecting pins, it felt a little like he was moving heavy objects with only the power of his mind. In the fourth frame, both the seven and the ten pins stay up just a bit longer than he wanted. As he gestures with both arms, they fell. Something similar happens in the eighth frame” (Mooney, Para 33). The drama builds, and the tension mounts as Fong is coming closer to striking a level of precision which only a few bowlers have been able to achieve. However, the events are twisted; the atmosphere becomes as tense as he is unable to reach his target. The picture Mooney tries to paint here is on the power of bowling and those emotions that are evoked after a successful roll or failure.
In conclusion, the picture that Mooney paints about Fong not only tells us how dedicated the player was at doing what he loves but also brings the readers to the world of bowling. There is power on how the author brings out the visual details and description of the player that makes the readers feel they are watching the game live. Fong overcomes all his fears and adversity, and gives everything he has on the sport he loves even though it somehow about to end his life.
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Mooney, Michael. “The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever.” D Magazine The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever Comments, www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/2012/july/the-most-amazing-bowling-story-ever-bill-fong. 2012
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