Right, here goes. I’m Jack, and I play bowls.
That’s it – I’ve admitted it. Things have been a bit quiet here this week, which isn’t a bad thing – I was feeling absolutely shattered after about six weeks of non-stop stuff. So in the last ten days or so, I’ve returned to my old-man-in-a-young-man’s-body shell – I’ve spent more time on the bowling green than in the gym, and I’ve agreed to drive the grandparents to a hotel in Harrogate for a couple of days’ holiday next week. And yes, the hotel has a bowling green, driving range and free newspapers; I will be continuing my old-man-ness there…
Back to the bowls. I’m no longer afraid to admit that I absolutely love it. People think it’s an old man’s game, but no – the top players tend to be younger, and the Commonwealth Games ladies’ champion from 2010 was in the final year of her degree when she won it. Guess I’ve got a couple of years left in me then!
So I’ve been playing pretty well this year, making my way to the Club Championship final in a couple of weeks’ time. But, along with everything else in my life, consistency is proving a major obstacle. Example: last Monday, I had a competition game at 2pm. Bowled like a dream, and won 21-5 – a metaphorical greyhound out of the starting blocks, who never let up. Returned to the club at 6 for a team game, and couldn’t do a thing right. Getting the wrong bias was a particular lowlight…
Getting the wrong bias. Every bowler’s nightmare. It has no comparison in sport, I feel. Firstly, I should explain that a bowl has a biased side, marked by a small ring in the middle of it. It’s part of my ritual: right foot on mat, pick a line, crouch, focus on the line, visualise, check the bias (or not), backswing, and release. Anyhow, back to the point – scoring an own goal; getting a golden duck; putting your tee shot in the water on the first hole. All over in a flash. But no, getting the wrong bias is a slower death; the wood veers off steadily, in about 20 seconds of sheer, laborious embarrassment onto the next rink. The whispers can be heard: “How’s he in the final of the Championship?” The guy on the next rink kicks my bowl back to our patch, where it is duly placed on the wall off the green. My skip (captain) duly adds: “Wrong bias, mate”. Helpful.
More consistency required, I feel.
In other news, I’m playing some cricket, doing some proofreading, and spending some time in the gym – all pretty mundane stuff, as I’m winding down for six weeks before heading off to China. Slacklining provides another distraction, though: got my new kit last week and duly performed a near-perfect frontflip, caught on film by my darling sister for your enjoyment.