Balls were a big part of my life growing up in Owen Sound in the 80’s. In the evenings of my youth, my friends and I regularly played scrub at what used to be known as Ryerson park. Because the park was quite small and contained three baseball diamonds, there were regular conflicts with teams using the other diamonds when our hits would interrupt their practices. This smallness not only allowed us the thrill of hitting more home runs, but also hitting neighbourhood cars. Sorry, neighbours.
Later, when I went to the OSCVI down the street, my friends and I would play tennis at the school’s outdoor courts. Although, looking back, it seems like we spent more time chasing the tennis balls we hit over the 16 foot fences surrounding the courts. We were not the best tennis players.
Finally, when basketball became our sport of choice, we could often be found playing pick-up on the OSCVI outdoor court until it got so dark we could barely see the ball. Even then, we would sometimes move to the hoop with one overhead light. This made shooting, and sometimes even seeing the ball much more difficult.
These were the games of my youth.
But now that I have entered my 50’s, an age I read described yesterday as the “youth of old age”, my taste in ball games has changed. Bocce and Lawn bowling are the way I roll now.
Although writing this piece has reminded me of a connection between the games of my youth and my second youth. As my first experience with lawn bowling happened at the St. George’s lawn bowling club (now a community food garden) when I selected it as an elective in my grade 12 co-ed Phys-Ed class.
I have no memory of how I did way back then, but it only took me 35 years to give it another try.
And even though I grew up in Owen Sound and rode my bike to what we then called “Brooke” (the north west part of OS), I had no idea that OS even had a second lawn bowling club. Today, the Roselawn club is the only lawn bowling club and unless you go out of your way looking for it, you probably won’t find it. The club is located at 1555 5th Avenue West.
On every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening, lawn members show up at 6:30 to be placed on teams for another fun and competitive night of lawn bowling.
Lawn bowling feels like a natural progression for me. Not because I was ever a very good bowler, but rather because I also have a love for bocce. About 10 years ago, friends of mine invited me to play in their weekly bocce games. This group eventually became the North Sydenham Bocce Club.
Before Covid (BC), we used to play outdoors in the summer, indoors in the winter and in a horse barn in the shoulder season (see cover photo), but now, thanks to covid the NSBC has become a very hardy, all year outdoor bocce club.
The invitation to lawn bowling is always open. Just show up on one of the nights mentioned above and you’ll be welcome to play.
Or, if you’d rather join us at an open house to see if you might like the game, stop by on Saturday, June 4th or 11th from noon to 4 pm. Details can be found here.
Playing bocce is a little more difficult as no one seems to remember how you become a member. But as I have told my fellow members, if I want to continue playing, we will have to soon inject some new blood. So stay tuned.
But, in the meantime, lawn bowling is always an option. Hope to see your there.
Keep on rollin’.
All images are property of John Fearnall/Good Noise