Over the course of the last 14 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered, slowed down or otherwise set back numerous businesses and organizations.
Sports, of course, have also taken a hit, as most competitions have been stuck on the sideline due to provincial regulations. But at least one local group – the White Rock Lawn Bowling Club – is thriving, explained longtime executive member Yvette Symes.
Though the club is open year-round, Symes said it is very rare that new members sign up during the winter months. However, this past winter, the club had numerous inquiries that resulted in 29 new members.
Symes, who is in charge of membership at the club, chalked up the boost to people seeking new social activities during the pandemic, considering many other activities – especially those geared towards seniors – have been shut down.
“People would stroll by and see members playing and would ask how they could become members, so they could play with distancing and, to a certain extent, have a much needed social connection during COVID,” Symes told Peace Arch News.
Two of those new members are Michael and Miriam Cox, who told PAN via email that they first became intrigued by the sport after passing the club each day.
“At the beginning of (the pandemic) there was very little two retirees could do… Our morning walk always took us past the bowling club… and we decided that if allowed, we would join,” they wrote, adding that they finally joined later in the year once health-restrictions relaxed slightly.
They typically play three times a week, and are usually paired with more experienced club members.
“It is an afternoon to look forward to,” they said.
The club’s playing surfaces are outdoors and physical distancing measures are in place, Symes noted. Only four members are allowed on each rink and only every second rink is being used.
Over the course of the pandemic, Symes said members have also volunteered their time to help renovate the clubhouse and the gardens that the property, and there are plans for later this year to install a new green.
Anyone interested in trying the sport can email the club’s head coach Mary Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.