Hello my friends.
This weekend promises to be absolutely HUGE.
The Melbourne Victory try to make it a championship every two years on Saturday night. Oh, we'll be there - but not before we TCOB in Narre Warren.
You see, we've taken up lawn bowls.
Don't laugh. Although I would. Heartily. Had you told me not more than a couple of years ago that I would be a competitive lawn bowler I would have derided you in the merciless fashion for which I am renowned. But here I am. Addicted.
So here follows a brief piece I wrote for the club recently by way of explanation:
Now some of you may have forgotten your roots (lord knows I've forgotten most of mine, thank Christ) but we all have to start somewhere. It's time to remind those that have moved on up through the ranks of the Club, be you Seconds or Firsts or Fourths or Thirds, of the life-affirming realities that exist in the lower reaches of pennant bowls.
Chapter 1: WTF am I doing here?
You rock up to the Club on a sunny (read: scorching hot) Saturday morning with your head still throbbing and the hair still thick on your tongue as you realise you've been sold a dud.
Somehow, sometime, someone the night previous has railroaded you. More than likely it was at the pool table. It could likely have been whilst shooting balls at Mr Hanky the Xmas Poo. It could have been whilst chewing the ear off the bar staff about the latest sporting conquest or political machination. It may have been (although a little less likely) whilst enjoying an enjoyable, but ultimately fruitless, afternoon of barefoot bowling. Anyway - point is you've been railroaded.
In much the same way as a Nigerian will 419 scam a Queenslander's superannuation, St Kilda's bowls recruitment program operates on 'stealth reconnaissance' and 'shock and awe' tactics targeted (quite specifically) at those whose defenses have been rendered useless by a night of bowls-club-priced drinks. For those of you unaware - none of this happens by chance. Like L. Ron Hubbard did with his "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" the founders of St Kilda Bowls Club chronicled the precise methods by which unsuspecting newbies are transformed into bowling tragics.
So here you are. In your whites. You didn't even know you had whites. Where did these whites come from?
Someone hands you a pencil and a card and says "You're second."
"Second what?" you think. Everyone else seems to know what they're doing, so you pretend like you do as well.
A set of bowls magicaly appears as you're instructed to fork out $4 for stickers. Eh, $4 isn't much - what the hell. Until you've returned to the bar $12 later beause those stickers somehow have to be applied to a convex surface of bakelite. You can barely stand straight and your breath still stinks of gin and you're expected to re-create an episode of the Curiosity Show by defying the laws of physics and trying to make a flat sticker go on a round ball.
"$5" is the next request.
"Hang on," you think, "Aren't I supposed to be doing someone a favour by playing today? Is't someone scheduled for triple-bypass surgery and can't play today so I have to fill in? Can't THEY pay the $5? This is getting expensive. Where's that third Bloody Mary?"
As a side-note: It may take some time for you to realise that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FILL IN! You can check out any time you like but YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE!
So you step onto the hallowed green for the first time for the "roll-up". One of two scenarios will present.
Either you take your first two bowls and bowl them into the next rink and beyond. "Look at that little fucker go!" you think as your bowl curls its way on a mystical parabolic arc that cannot be defined by a simple mathematical algorithmic equation. One of the older heads on your team will now take it upon themselves to instruct you how your bowls are biased and what you can expect. But not until after the entire club has had an obligatory laugh at your expense.
Or, you grasp your new bowls confidently and assuredly deliver two perfectly weighted bowls to within an inch of the kitty. The kitty, you will learn later, is that stupid little white ball everyone seems so intent on touching. This scenario leads to even greater embarrassment, as you still don't have the slightest clue in hell of what you're doing, but everyone now assumes you are an expert - destined not long for these ranks. So, rest assured, your inevitable mistake (and subsequent humiliation) will no doubt occure whilst the game is actually in progress.
And so the games commence.
Looking around you think to yourself "I'm young, good looking, and a BORN WINNER!!" Your opponents are frail, withered, grey, EASYBEATS!
"This'll be a piece of piss..."
So that was weeks ago.
And now we find ourselves - as novice bowlers - playing off in the semi-final on Saturday. Promotion to Division 7 beckons!
Wish us well by commenting below.