One of the reasons I renamed the blog, “The Eclectic Christian” is because I’m curious about a lot of things. On our vacation to Victoria, B.C. a few weeks ago (primarily to visit Butchart Gardens) Dorinda and I were determined to find the Lawn Bowling club we had found by chance on a visit several years ago and through the magnificent invention of Google maps we were able. Many people would consider this a very boring idea….watching lawn bowling on a beautiful summer day…but since my wife and I are both Anglophiles, we were sincerely hoping that not only would we find the club, but there would be Victoria-ites bowling, and there were. The sign in front of the club stated that visitors were welcome and the atmosphere lended itself to confirm that statement and so Dorinda and I found a seat on a bench alongside the pitch and may have had the best two hours of the week.
It’s hard to describe the feeling we both had that warm, July day as we watched primarily octogenarians roll some balls across the green. There is something gentle and hospitable about the game itself, especially since being overly aggressive usually produces negative results. The main idea is for two teams to take turns rolling two balls per player as close to the target ball, the “jack”, as possible while also trying to move opponent balls away from the target. But the bowlers are usually between 30-50 yards away from the target so rolling a ball aggressively from that distance rarely produces good results.
Apart from the gentleness of the game itself the conduct of the players complemented the atmosphere. While the game is competitive, and both teams want to win, the players themselves were always polite and congratulatory to the other team and never boastful. This seems to be in contrast with the current American ideal of trash-talk and self-congratulations in competitive environments of which, I must confess, I tire easily.
The stress of our hyper-competitive world and the constant demands of information technology and the gentle and lovely spirit of this group of lawn bowlers seemed such a contrast. I find myself, like most people I suppose, checking my cell phone every few minutes but during this two hours the only time I picked up the phone was to record a video of the event. In the quiet and genteel atmosphere, with the lack of any demands whatsoever, interruptions of any sort seemed to be an affront. Lawn Bowling wasn’t boring….it was ….vacation.
I think I would like to be a lawn bowler….