By Catarina Muia
If you’re looking for a different and fun way to meet new people, while also taking part in some friendly competition, the Burlington Lawn Bowling Club (BLBC) is the place for you.
The BLBC will be holding its annual Open House Week from May 5 to 11.
“It’s for anyone who is interested, we will teach him or her how to bowl,” says Mary Wootton, the BLBC director of publicity. “There’s no pressure, there’s no big thing to make you sign up, and everything is completely up to the individual.”
Mary Wesko, past president of the BLBC, explains that she had watched her grandparents lawn bowl when she was a child, but never got involved because she didn’t want to have to commit to playing on a team. “I didn’t even look into joining until I retired, but you really kick yourself for not getting into it when you’re younger,” she says. “I really enjoy everything about the game. I play indoors, outdoors, in competitions, socially, and everyone just feels really welcome,” Wesko explains. “You can sit in and watch or play no matter what age or background you are.”
Lawn bowling isn’t too difficult to learn. It’s played one-on-one on a flat lawn called a bowling green. A player rolls the jack, a small white ball, along the centre line a distance of at least 21 metres (23 yards). This is the target for players who roll larger balls, called bowls as close as possible to the jack. The most accurate player wins.
Indoor bowling is essentially the same, but is played on a caroeted indoor rink, .
Membership director Evan Bingley explains that plenty of people look for an activity that is gentler on their body.
“Perhaps they can’t play tennis anymore, or curlers want to play a similar sport in the summer. This is the sport to do instead. Bingley says, adding, “It’s a nice gentle exercise and an easy game but there’s far more to it than it looks.”
Although players do come to make friends and be social, the game can also get competitive. “It can be as competitive as you want it to be. Those who want to be competitive are competitive, and those who want to be social are social,” says Bingley.
Although law bowling attracts an older crowd, BLBC also has a junior team. The club attracts people of all ages, some who come in out of curiosity after passing by the New Street location.
For those interested in the Open House Week, there will be sessions at 1 and 7 p.m. every day that week, with both sessions running a couple of hours each. Coaches will be standing by to explain how to bowl.
“We usually get a good crowd. More than 100 people will probably show up that week and some will probably keep coming back throughout the season,” Wootton explains.
“Because it’s such a social game, you don’t need to bring a partner if you come to the open house and even if you do you’ll still be meeting new people.”
Open House Week kicks off the outdoor season, with the BLBC’s Opening Day Jitney for returning members on Saturday, May 12.
Wednesday nights are for beginners, “It’s a great time to come out and learn. You get proper coaching and everyone who comes has to have played for less than five years,” Wootton says.
BLBC has participated in world competitions over the years and this summer will hold the provincial seniors competition. In 2020, it will host the national competition, which will bring in the best players from across Canada.
The outdoor lawn bowling season goes until Thanksgiving, and from October to April, indoor bowling is available at BLBC.
The Burlington Lawn Bowling Club is located at 2275 New St.
For more information, call 905-333-5622 or visit www.burlingtonlbc.org.