Fun and Games in the Park

Fun and Games in the Park

By Rosemary Verren-Dalbridge

You are most cordially invited to an Open House at the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club on April 6 and 7, 2019 between the hours of 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Refreshments will be available, as will experts who will explain and demonstrate the two games played at the Club: lawn bowling and croquet.

The Club is a first class facility beside beautiful Beacon Hill Park, just off Cook Street and Park Boulevard. It also boasts a superb clubhouse with a professional kitchen which hosts many social events for club members, as well as affording rental opportunities for private functions and corporate events. There is plenty of free parking in a couple of adjacent car parks as well as on the street.

New Year croquet. Photo by Nigel pieloth.

New Year croquet. Photo by Nigel pieloth.

“So what’s in it for me?” I hear you asking. How about the chance to socialize and exercise in the fresh air while learning a new skill. All these things—so the media and medical profession continually exhort us—will add to our increased well-being and good mental health. What’s not to like?

The club provides all the equipment for play so there is no need for huge personal expenditure. The only thing required of the novice is a pair of comfortable, flat-soled shoes, essential for maintaining the lawn’s velvety surface.

Croquet, in particular, requires a degree of tactical skill which develops the more one plays. However, it is very satisfactory to hear a solid crack as the mallet makes contact with the ball, sending it towards the hoop, and if it sails through—elation!

New Year bowling. Photo by Nigel Pieloth.

New Year bowling. Photo by Nigel Pieloth.

Both games are of a more ambulatory than energetic nature, but none the less enjoyable for that. They are played in teams which makes for bonding opportunities while discussing tactics on how to outwit opponents and their strategies.

There seems to be some inherent and primitive instinct that compels humans to whack small round objects with sticks. Certainly croquet fills the bill.

The origins of lawn bowling are lost in the mists of a bygone era; however, the game was so well established in England in 1299 A.D. that a group of players formed the Southampton Old Bowling Green Club. Incredibly that club remains active to this day and is the oldest known. Bowling proved so popular that the game came under a ban of King Edward III and parliament as it was feared it took precedence over archery practice which was essential to the defence of the realm.

Another resounding endorsement for the game is the anecdotal myth of Sir Francis Drake. Allegedly he was playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe in July, 1588, when word was brought to him of the Spanish Armada approaching. “Time enough to play the game and thrash the Spanish afterwards,” was his reported response. Of course, he could have just noticed the tide was on the turn, but it makes for an interesting story.

Now I am well aware that lawn bowling has had a bit of a bad rap, with British TV shows like Midsomer Murders tending to depict bowlers as a group of geriatrics, dressed in head-to-toe white, creaking around a lawn. I wish to hastily dispel this image, most unfairly conjured. We, in Canada, are better than this, flouting the all-white rule and welcoming members of all ages. We are a lively and active group, hugely sociable, ready to welcome new members to join our fun and games.

To this end I strongly urge you to visit our web page at www.victorialbc.com, which is crafted by one of our talented members. This contains pretty much all the information you could ever wish to know about our club and its activities.

So please, do take up this invitation, mark the dates on your calendar and plan to attend alone or with a friend. It costs nothing, it is nearby, and there will be cake. What do you have to lose?

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