I was asked to play lawn bowls on a Friday evening, with my friends. Being the opportunist that I am, I pushed aside the images of white perms glistening in the sun and socks paired with sandals, and said yes to being the third team member of ‘Shake Rattle & Bowl’. We’ve got one more game left for this season and this is what I’ve learnt so far:
Walking onto the grounds of a lawn bowls club is like stepping back in time. The old birds freely drag on their cigarettes, the ladies’ restroom is a pink powder puff explosion of retroism, the drinks are cheap, time slows down and you realise that you’re engaged in some good old fashioned fun.
When one of the old jokers says that this is his first game, then spouts off the rules in detail, don’t believe that he’s never played before.
Even though it may seem like it’s just a heavy ball rolling down a green, the second that you release it off to meet up with the kitty, your heart beats fast enough to look around and see if there’s a heart transplant stall when you leave. No wonder the drinks are so cheap.
The element of ‘social’ sport can bring out the most competitiveness in people, especially if the term ‘having a bit of fun’ is bandied about. Cue the tape measures and the occasional internal monologue of disagreement.
Drinking an ice cold cider in between your turn to roll does not always help your performance.
My team mates couldn’t make it last night and I explained to the organisers my predicament and said that I’d be willing to forfeit my game if I couldn’t play. I was swiftly given a cup of calm the f*$% down, telling me not to panic because they’ll sort it out. They did.
By luck of the draw, I’ve won two meat packs in the space of several weeks. I was all porked out the other week and last night’s win means that the BBQ will be fired up every night this week. Playing lawn bowls has not only opened up my mind to a new sport, but has also opened up my fridge to being filled.
I’m looking forward to next Friday, but it definitely will be bittersweet. I’m going to miss rolling out on the green and then traipsing up to the clubhouse post-game, across the brown and orange patterned carpet, with a brew in one hand hoping for another meaty win. Lawn bowls has absolutely been a little reward at the end of the week.