New challenges

A lot has happened in the last few years. Bromptons, retirement, the Tardis & now Lawn Bowling. Lots of other things too but the last year of bowling has been a rather surprising activity.

My only practical experience had been a workplace Christmas function many years ago, when a large group hit the greens for a “barefoot bowls” session. That had been fun but the post-retirement intrigue of seeing bowlers at my local club lead to inquiring about “proper coaching”. Some weeks of coaching & I was joining up as a registered bowler; all very whirlwind I suppose but it’s been an ongoing learning experience.

The early surprise was the workout on leg muscles that I’d forgotten about. Once I started playing social games I realised it wasn’t just a walk in the park: more like a 4 hour walk, with bending & stretching & regular weight-lifting of 1.5kg lawn bowls. This physical involvement has an accompanying mental effort as well, with continuing concentration on the bowling action, the game aspects & changing conditions throughout the time. In addition, I’ve gained an appreciation of the social structures of the game (team selections & socialising, play etiquette & player support) & how the game is an ideal exercise for the “senior body”, as well as participants of all ages (& gender). All very surprising & unexpected?

I suppose I was expecting a challenge when I started, of the game requirement to deliver the bowl along a curving trajectory to a target point on the bowling rink. The challenge is even more immense than I expected, with variability in weather & rink conditions endeavouring to counter any personal effort for consistency? In truth, “it’s bloody hard” – but addictive?!

I’d often seen bowling green maintenance being undertaken but now I’ve got a much better appreciation of what goes on. Here’s our club Greenkeeper/magician, Fred, whizzing about on his mower.
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The last few months has even seen a ramped up involvement, with participation in the Zone Pennants championship play & in various club championship events. Throughout this time I’ve been getting a better feel for how I’ve been delivering the bowl (as compared to the early self-questioning such as “how did it end up there?”) & progressing successfully through various championship rounds. This busy time has seen some periods of 7 days play per week! As you can imagine other activities have suffered & my cycling has often been limited to riding Ralph to the bowling club to practice. Unfortunately our club Pennants side hasn’t won our section so that’s our season over for this year & unfortunately again, my Minor Pairs final was unsuccessful (although my partner & I have been rather pleased to even make the final against some very experienced players) & so now it’s time to escape for a bit in the Tardis?

Actually, this escape trick isn’t quite what it seems, for the Tardis is carrying a spare set of bowls along with Ralph & Peregrine. With almost every town possessing a bowling club then it’s likely there’ll be a little research along the way? Here is a very recent escapade at Lennox Head: note Ralph & Brompton C bag waiting patiently to carry about 7kg of bowling equipment back to the Tardis.
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2 thoughts on “New challenges

  1. The Brompton Diarist 02/07/2014 at 01:33 Reply

    This is absolutely fascinating. Lawn bowling is far more challenging than I’d ever guessed. The only thing similar that I’ve seen here in the USA is bocce ball, played by beautifully-attired (all in white!) very much elderly gents, all of whom seem to move with an almost choreographed elegance.

    Could this be the perfect upper body workout to complement Brompton-riding? So it would seem!

    • Aussie on a Brompton 04/07/2014 at 21:10 Reply

      Good to see your comments Brommie.

      I think Italian migrants would have introduced Bocce here (& the US) but I’m unaware of its popularity or coverage. I’ve encountered one weekly game site near the CBD but as the game can exist without proper infrastructure then seeing play is uncommon. The traditional players do seem to have a mystical style but maybe regular play would reveal all?

      When in the UK last year I looked out for lawn bowling greens but was surprised to see so few & their condition often looked “challenging” – but probably understandable given seasonal non-use? As for lawn bowling in the USA, it does seem quite established? – http://www.bowlsusa.us/index.php

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