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Bowling for Darlington

While visiting my folks up in the north east last week I went with my dad to his indoor bowls club. I fully expected to be bored (I would be just watching) but in fact I really enjoyed the experience. There were about 50 or so elderly gents mainly in their 70s and 80s in teams of three, all in their grey trousers and white tops - the polo style shirt probably the most popular but Maurice, obviously a man of standards, sported a freshly ironed shirt and a maroon tie! The truly wonderful thing was the relaxed atmosphere, the playful banter and the obvious sheer enjoyment of all the participants. Some people were clearly more talented than others but poor players were encouraged, good shots praised, and the perhaps slightly boastful, gently mocked. For some it was a serious business: Maurice of the maroon tie meant business, after releasing each bowl he would extend his arms and perform a series of balletic movements presumably designed to coax the bowl to the exact intended spot! Logically this shouldn’t make any difference but he was comfortably one of the best players. The less talented approached the game with equal enthusiasm and a thoroughly good two hours was had by all.

What a wonderful way to while away a morning – I’m sure I’ll be taking it up . . . in ten to fifteen years time.

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