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Bowling? Boring?
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Okay so I know what you’re thinking – ‘Bowling’??? That boring sport that you take up once you retire to pass the time? Well if you’re thinking you would rather watch paint dry then hopefully after you have read this article you will look at the sport in a new light.

Most people think of bowls and think of old men with skip hats and old women with extremely unflattering grey pleated skirts. Well let me tell you how much things have changed and just how far the sport has come…

Those of you that have seen the film ‘Blackball’ may have a fair idea of what the sport is about, although I’m not sure the film’s portrayal of the sport is entirely accurate, and I’m pretty sure if anyone behaved like the main character at a real bowling club they would raise more than a few eyebrows. However it does raise the profile of the sport and shine a more glamorous light on what is seen as a dull, old fashioned game.

Bowling is far from dull and old fashioned with the trendy and colourful equipment, fashion and accessories now available. You can now buy bowls in a wide range of colours and designs from bright yellow to red with white speckles. They certainly brighten up the game in comparison to the black and brown bowls that were once the limit of choice. As for the fashion side of things, those dreaded grey skirts have been replaced with more stylish black and grey trousers for the ladies and a large range of fashionable white sports tops are now available for men and women. Some clubs now have their own colours which their members can wear when out representing their club. The bowling community recognises that in order to keep the sport alive, they need to encourage more young people to play and join their clubs, and these are just a few small steps that have been taken to make the game more appealing.

Clubs all over Scotland now have junior sections which normally start at the age of 8 up to the age of 16 or 18 depending on the individual club rules. The amount of young members in each club varies depending on the location of the club and also on the willingness of individual clubs to encourage young members to join. The introduction of junior sections at bowling clubs has been a very recent development and it is only really in the last 26 years that young people have started to make their mark in the game. The Scottish Young Bowlers Association (SYBA) was founded in 1982, to promote the sport of ‘Bowling’ for young bowlers up to the age of 16. By 2006 there were 255 clubs within the association with 3,500 young bowlers from the age of 8 upwards. Although this seems like a large number, this is still only about a third of clubs in Scotland so there is still a long way to come.

More and more young people are starting to realise just how much fun the sport can be with under 25’s competitions being held regularly at local and national levels. With over 910 bowling clubs in Scotland the game is becoming increasingly popular with people of all age groups. There are lots of national and local area competitions which allow you to go out and represent your club, and if you are good enough there are international squads which, if picked, give you the great honour of representing your country. There is an under 25 international squad and a +25 squad for both men and women. Playing in competitions locally and nationally gives you the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people from all over Scotland and make countless new friends.

Bowling can be played at a highly competitive level but if competition is not really your thing then fear not, bowling can also be a way to just relax and have fun. Most bowling clubs have fun games and tournaments for their members to take part in and these days are usually full of fun and laughter with members of all ages coming together in good spirit for a fun day out. It’s a very sociable sport and it encourages people from around the ages of 8 to 80 to mix and interact with each other where they wouldn’t normally.

The sport is really easy to learn and once you have learned how to play all it takes is practice to improve your game. Over the summer at the Glasgow fair most clubs have fun games on at the weekends or in the evenings where anyone can join in and play. So if you are looking for a new hobby, and are interested in what you have just read, pop along to your local club and check out what’s on. Most clubs are very friendly and will welcome any new interest in the sport.


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