My workplace held its holiday party at a bowling alley this year — it was a lot of fun! I noticed, however, that the unique sequence of movements in combination with the lighting caused me to be a bit unsteady.

Lighting: We were “glow bowling,” which I though meant everything would be black lit with neon bowling pins, but in actuality it just meant that the lights over the lanes were dimmed and extra rows of colored and flashing lights made the ambiance festive.

Movements: I sat on a low bench watching my teammates bowl. I frequently looked up at the ceiling-mounted scoreboard. When it was my turn, I quickly glanced up at the board to confirm that I was next, then stood and walked to the ball return, looked down and bent over to get my ball, then turned and looked down the lane, ready to bowl.

Twice I tilted or stumbled as I rose from the bench. (This mortified me, since I was with coworkers, and my boss was on my team!) And more than once, I felt a little “off” as I readied to throw my ball. I believe this was due to the dim lighting over the lanes; after the sequence of movements that I followed to get to the head of the lane, my body needed to “reset” when I finally stood still, and the dim lighting meant that the visual input my vestibular system was processing was less sharp than usual.

Do over: Two weeks later, a friend had a bowling party for her birthday. I had no problems. Compared to the work party, these lanes were fully lit, and instead of sitting on a low bench to watch my teammates, I sat on a high stool or stood. I bowled a great game!

 

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