I’ve found my true niche
The Sports Guy, Sports Vue, September 8-15, 1994
I’m excited by the prospect of becoming a world class caliber athlete.
Through the years I’ve succeeded at being good enough to compete with and against fellow fitness-challenged jocks. I’ve been on championship co-ed recreational basketball teams, played for the championship in mixed intramural softball, and even won a miniature golf tournament.
But I’ve failed in my quest to represent my country in a sport. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, even since I was old enough to realize the endorsement opportunities.
At 32 years old I feel that, unlike my elementary and high school mate Geoff Courtnall, who’s nearing the end of his NHL career, I’m just now coming into my own as an athlete. The problem is trying to convince the ageist powers-that-be of that. Even though I would be a valuable member to any team, most general managers and coaches wouldn’t give me the time o’ day.
For example, there’s no denying that I could make the Grizzlies if it weren’t for Stu Jackson’s obvious distaste for slow, inexperienced veterans. And I would even be willing to try out, if it weren’t for my distaste for the Grizzlies’ logo.
So team sports are out. So too are high performance sports such as diving (afraid of heights), swimming (can’t), tennis (10 mph lob serves are not yet in vogue), gymnastics (can’t even touch toes and pull-ups are out of the question) and boxing (have a glass head).
I have narrowed my choices down to three: golf, curling and lawn bowls.
Golf is too dangerous – you could get hit upside the head by a stray ball, suffer severe brain damage and end up on the pro-bowling tour. And as for curling, I don’t even like sweeping my own apartment.
So lawn bowls it must be. (Incidentally, when did the verb lawn bowling nounify itself? I guess they want to distance themselves from such unathletic bastardized versions of their sport as five and ten pin bowling. Lawn bowls is no macho, beer-swilling, goofy shirt-wearing and goofier shoe-wearing activity. It is a sport that requires a high degree of hand-eye coordination and athleticism. It also helps to have a pulse and get by without the aid of a walker, but the sport discriminates against no one).
I’ve read the rules. I know what I’m in for. You roll a non-spherical ball along the grass and try to get close to a white jack. You do this for three and a half hours, collect your money and go home. And then you have the rest of the day to get some exercise.
Not to take anything away from the finely-tuned physical specimens that are lawn bowlers, but I know in my heart of hearts I could compete with the best of them right now and not be embarrassed. I’ve never played before but I’m savvy enough to pick it up pretty quickly. I would bring new dimensions to the sport, such as the emergence of trash-talking. Just how mentally tough are these bowlers? I challenge any of them to a game, anytime, anywhere.
If I’d started two months ago, I’d have represented Canada in Victoria at the Commonwealth Games this summer. Friendly Games, Schmiendly Games.