FIRST A SMALL INTRODUCTION:
As you probably now I don’t have a long history in this game, only got to know bowling about five years ago, then bowling was a complete unknown to me, the sport of bowling or tournament bowling was only a dream…far far away…
After a while, let’s say about a year, I was introduced to Takis by a friend (Cristian Calagiu) and he agreed to train me on his own time. I remember his words then «Sebastian, I want you to forget about bowling for 6 months». Of course I didn’t listen to him…. as any other stupid kid on the block, I ignored his advice, I wanted to play…to win…to have good results.
After a few months….being frustrated by my own mistakes on the lanes I quit training and almost quit bowling.
NOW THE STORY:
One day I receive a call from my friend (Cristian) I answered and for my surprise…at the other end was Takis asking «Why aren’t you at practice?», I had no answer….that day after work I went to IDM to meet with him, he put a hand on my shoulder and we had a little private conversation and told me the following story I’ll never forget:
«Sebi, when I was young I was working in constructions and carried big marble stones on my back working hard. After work I went on practice at the local lanes, but I could not afford to many practice sessions. One day a man came to me and said «I believe you are going to be a great champion some day, you should practice more!». At that time Takis said to that person he could not afford as mouch practice as he would like, then the other man replied «You can come and practice here for free any time you want», Takis then said «how can I repay you for this effort?». The other guy said «One day, when you’ll be a Champion, and when people ask you, where did you learn to bowl, maybe you’ll tell them you learned here».
After that short story he looked at me and said: «Sebi, I want nothing from you, just come and practice, and maybe some day…if people ask you who teach you this game you’ll tell them I did. But, because you missed practice in the past, from now on, every time we do practice, you must bring me a chocolate (dark… at least 75% cocoa…. his favorite 🙂 )»
That was the moment Takis won my heart and made me to come back to the game I still love today.
After that story, at the end of the day (practice session) he came to me on the approach and said » Do you know why I like this game?», I said «No. Why?». The answer was: «Because I realized that HERE (the approach) I can be King of my Game!»
Training with Takis was hard and very demanding, but being around Takis was full of beautiful and funny moments, thus making the day pass easier and enjoyable with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of it.
So today, as am writing you these words, I realize that Takis made me play this game not only with my body and mind but more important, with my heart. He certainly and unarguably had a way with people in his circle, a Way of the Heart, he knew how to make you better as an athlete, how to criticize you without bringing you down and how to bring you up in a matter of seconds when you were down.
Also he was a magician of the lanes, a master of lane play from my point of view, a true tactician, a hard rock to crack as I would say.
I still feel his presence on the lanes today and will feel it as long as I’m going to play this beautiful game.