Lawn bowling: Not a senior sport

Local club treasurer says young lawn bowlers exist despite the misconception

Tracy Chan rolling the ball down the lane at Pacific Indoor Bowls Club. Photo by Rui Yang Xu
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By Rui Yang Xu

While the sport is fun, John Aveline feels that lawn bowling isn’t getting the love it deserves.

Aveline, the former president and current coach of Kerrisdale Lawn Bowls Club, said while the sport is quite interesting to play, there is a misconception around the sport being only for seniors. “A lot of people might think that it’s too sedate and slow,” Aveline said. 

Lawn bowling, or bowls, is a game that involves the balls you roll, called bowls, and a smaller ball, called a jack, that serves as a target. The objective is to get as many of your bowls closer to the jack than your opponent’s, and building ahead to outmaneuver your opponent’s much as in curling.

It’s a misconception that lawn bowling is limited to seniors, according to David Smith, the current treasurer of the club. Smith said it’s actually a popular sport with a diverse demographic. 

“We have members as young as 12 and going up into their 80s,” Smith said. “If you want to play the sport at a serious competitive level, then most of the extremely good players are in their 30s.”

Despite a noticeable number of young players, the sport still struggles to draw in new players, especially in the younger demographics. 

Jim Duholke, a top bowls player at the national level, said the sport needs to focus more on young people

“A lot of us get to the point where we really don’t have much contact with young people,” Duholke said.  

Aveline also points out that part of the reason is simply an unfamiliarity of the sport and that it has various levels of competition all the way up to the Commonwealth Games

“I would say it’s a fun sport,” Smith said.  “It’s easy to learn and difficult to master. It is more than just rolling a ball to a jack. It’s more akin to a chess situation.”

However, it’s that diverse level of competition that Smith believes can be a huge asset to the sport. 

“If you get into it young and put a little bit of time or work into it, you can travel all over the world,” said Smith.

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