With deep pride and great care for their club’s gorgeous greens, volunteers turned out Monday to prepare the historic Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club for its centennial season of play.
Delicately scraping its grass of thatch and trimming its borders in a work party declaring dormancy over, play at this now 100-year-old club can begin again.
“I’ve already had my bowls out in the backyard practicing,” said club member Brian Schule.
“I think it’s wonderful. I love every minute of it. It gives me a life again,” he said.
“It’s like Christmas. It’s a special day where you can get back out and enjoy everything,” said club member Larry Rector.
The picture-perfect setting sits among the tall trees of Nanaimo’s Bowen Park, and to Dave Ruckman, it’s a field of dreams.
The Nanaimo man lost his sight in 2010 but has since become one of the club’s sight-impaired bowlers, and with guidance to where the target is feels more able and accepted than he has in years.
“You regain your confidence in yourself, your ability to move around and do things again,” said Ruckman.
Para Lawn Bowls is a focus of the club for 2023.
“Feels like you have to wait forever to get back out here,” said club member John Rainbow.
“Six months without it, it’s fun again,” added club member Darrell Chapman.
While the Lawn Bowling Club in Nanaimo dates back to 1923, it’s much longer in world history.
“The sport itself goes back to 1200. It was a sport of kings at one time, they wouldn’t let the peasants play, or they were beheaded,” said Chapman.
So it seems fitting the sport now is all about the love of the game and including anyone who wants to join.
“It is very much inclusive, and that’s what’s missing in many people with disabilities lives,” said Ruckman.
As this historic club kicks off its 100th year in the Harbour City, players celebrate the game they’ve been waiting all winter to play.