Lawn bowlers getting out on green

Every year in mid-April, a sure sign that spring is here is the start of the outdoor lawn bowling season. This year is no exception…

Every year in mid-April, a sure sign that spring is here is the start of the outdoor lawn bowling season. This year is no exception and Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club members are once again eager to get underway…

Headquarters for the organization is the clubhouse next to the bowling green in Bowen Park, located adjacent to the activity centre. Since the start of this month club volunteers have been getting the clubhouse in shape, as well as mowing, edging and raking to prepare the bowling green for the season ahead.

Plans for the upcoming season were discussed at the club’s spring general meeting held April 3 at the clubhouse. Taking over as president of the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club this year is Bernice Urbaniak, assisted by vice-president Ron Chisolm, treasurer Barbara Berg and club secretary Vernie Dawkin. Other directors are David Mitchell, Myron Mishio, John Randle, Joyce Mitchell, Vern Hagstrom and Shirley Phillips.

Though the sport is not as widespread here as in some other areas of the world, lawn bowling’s enduring popularity is undeniable. The local club has a strong membership comprised of volunteers who are enthused about bowling and making their club the best it can be. Their efforts have certainly paid off. The Nanaimo club is heading into its 93rd year of operation. And just recently, NLBC was presented with the Bowls B.C. 2015 Club of the Year Award for the Vancouver Island North district.

While many members are longtime bowlers, the club recognizes that new bowlers are the future of the sport. To that end, two major objectives have been identified for the coming year. One is to increase the number of members participating in recreational bowling as opposed to competitions. The other is to place more emphasis on youth programs in order to attract a younger demographic to the sport.

At the start of each season, open houses are organized at the Bowen Park facility for anyone curious to learn about the sport of lawn bowling. One will be happening this Saturday (April 16) and April 23, with visitors invited to drop by from 1-4 p.m. either day.

At the sessions, club members will be on hand to show visitors the clubhouse and explain the basics of the game. Equipment will be provided and coaches will provide basic instruction. Comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes are all that is required. Those interested in joining can arrange for a free set of lessons.

The season will officially get underway on Sunday with traditional opening-day ceremonies starting at 1 p.m. Civic dignitaries will be on hand to deliver the first bowl of the season and teams will be drawn for a friendly game.

From that date on the season will get into full swing, with games and competitions nearly every day of the week through until the end of September. There are men’s and ladies’ leagues, mixed leagues and visually impaired leagues. Sometime games are singles’ matches, sometimes pairs, or maybe teams of three of four, with various different formats used to keep things interesting. And there’s always plenty of fun and camaraderie.

To learn more, visit the club website at www.nanaimolawnbowling.com. Or better yet, drop down to the Bowen Park bowling green and check out in person the appeal of lawn bowling.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.