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Bowls In Focus : February 2011
6 Bowls In Focus The Love Of The Game Just some random thoughts about why I love this game and how vital it is in my life to dealing with the pressures of work. What a great game it is. The late Doug Corben AO told me that when he first was appointed to the role of Town Clerk in the southern part of Mel- bourne’s suburbs, he was encouraged to get into bowls as a way of relieving stress. He soon found that he would bowl at Mentone of a lunchtime and then fell in love with the game – and stayed sane and healthy. He encouraged me to do the same. I fully anticipate that my role is a high stress one, and it is, and I don’t exercise enough or play enough bowls. But when I do, I love it. Perhaps every bit as much as I have enjoyed other sports during my life. But bowls is such a challenge! And such a great team sport. Recently I played in one of the most enjoyable sporting events of my entire sport- ing career. It was a Division 1 game against Ivanhoe at Montmorency. First game back after the Christmas/New Year break, a fine day in Melbourne, and the chance of getting into the four. The couple of weeks back at work had been frenetic. Watching and hearing our staff coping with not only the significant work loads associated with coordinating championship events and interstate tests plus the Australian Open Qualifying, but also a volume of complaints from bowlers: Why wasn’t metro pennant called off last week? Why was such-and-such green closed – and why didn’t we get the points when they closed the green? My Law Book is missing a page. etc etc. - many queries are perfectly pleasantly presented when bowlers call. But, it is quite disheartening how the volume of calls that are quite irrational can easily lead to a real sense of negativity throughout the office. And then you can take that feeling home with you. Fortunately, our staff is very experienced in handling such calls politely and calmly. But, this is such a great game. For me, I love to lose myself in the game with my mates in a solid contest for a clear purpose – to play finals. To get back on the green with three fellow bowlers who have formed a strong unit throughout the season and 12 others who have similarly bonded on their rinks, and all 16 as a side, was fantastic. To be excited at the prospect that we could together realistically make the four by beating the top side made for an added determination, especially since our side, infamous for not winning away games, had actually won away a few times, including against Armadale on their (beautiful) green in the last round of the year. Our style of play had changed. Lee Schraner had assisted our ‘top’ players in the off-season by introducing drives and up-shots into our weaponry. His coaching in- stilled confidence and has given the players that ability to not continually try to draw into that tiny, little space when four down at the head – with a target as big as a watermelon to aim at. Seconds and Thirds are expected to drive well. So, a team brim-full of confidence fronts the top side in the first game back – a chance to make the finals for the first time since Drake put down a bowl – and a group of blokes (we have previously had women in our Division 1 side) who get on pretty well. Many have felt that tingle of excitement and expectation, for most of us men, primar- ily when running out onto a football ground, or taking block at cricket, and in individual pursuits at the start of a race or marathon. But bowls presents different elements to any of these. Bowls is all at one time an individual’s game, a team-within-a-team game, and a combined unit overall (side). Any one rink (or even three rinks) could lose on the day, and the side could still win overall. So, as an individual you need to perform, as a rink you need to perform, and across the side you need to work as a unit. In cricket, you get bowled first ball – good night. Field all day at third man – no catches, no run-outs, a few gathers and throws – fine, you’ve done your job. But, every bowl in our game counts. So it was that our side discussed its team plan for the day, and then the rinks discuss their team plans for the day (more Lee Schraner influence – although Lachie Tighe and Neil Barass have contributed previously too). In that context, the match was just so enjoyable. There is something about the solidarity of combining together to ‘achieve together’ which is far superior to doing it all on your own – in my opinion. This is evidenced now with the com- munity responses to the floods. People are essentially community-minded; we want to collaborate, to contribute, to make a differ- ence. A game of bowls is built on that model. Which is why it is so difficult for a totally individualistic player to be an effective team member in this game. And to do so against a side that is also committed to similar goals and outcomes makes for a great day. When one adds to that the fact (which I now witness every week) that opponents will say ‘great shot’ to each other while playing as ferociously as possible, just enhances the entire experi- ence. But there is also the support offered when a bowl is delivered that is so far below what that person can do. Nothing better than watching opponents ‘rip into each other’ or worse, groan and drop their shoulders and present totally negative body language to all who can see. Positivity is an interesting component of bowls. We certainly did not discourage our opposition from complaining about anything from how bad the green was, to how bad it was that skips have to keep score, to leads and seconds and thirds criticising their skip’s call of shots – always great to hear them not focused on the game. But, it was always the case that when a good bowl went down from any of our side, the praise and encourage- ment across the rinks was always there. So – positivity is an essential ingredient to good health. My aim is to always be positive, but our sport is riddled with negativity and that makes it very hard for all involved. Our sport is great – we need to package it up in such a way that we can market it more effectively so that more people can share our love of it. And I need to bowl more regularly after work! Peter Hanlon Lawn Order Lawn OrderLeading The Way Leading The Way Leading The Way www. .com.au email@example.com 2 011 Lawn Bowls Tours May Mar ch 2012 June August October SABAH LAWN BOWLS TOUR - Aussie Kangaroos v Sabah Orangutans 6 nights with Sandakan extension. DEP MAY 24 VIETNAM AND SINGAPORE - 11 nights - Features Saigon/Mekong Delta, Hoi An and Singapore. DEP JUNE 8 SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG - 6 nights - Enjoy the sights of the Orient.DEP JUNE 17 NORFOLK TRIPLES CLASSIC - 10 nights and $6000 prize money. DEP AUGUST 18 COOK ISLAND BOWLS CLASSIC - 8 nights - Enjoy bowls and this fantastic Pacific Paradise. Extension to Aitutaki Lagoon, relax and bowl. DEP OCTOBER 9 WESTERN AUSTRALIA BOWLS TOUR - Enquire today Freecall 1300 308 362 All tours fully escorted. For full itineraries contact Traveleaders. Contact Jeromy Nolan today 0417 697 296 1610979w
March April 2011