Thursday, October 9, 2008

Black ball trundles; time stands still

What's unusual about this photo?

That's right - absolutely nothing.

Here we have the game of bowls being undertaken by the anticipated demographic in the stereotypical garb.

What is it about bowls? While other sports evolve, get with the titanium and the Gore-Tex and the kevlar, bowls never seems to change. It always seems to be about brimmed white hats, button-up cardies, players over seventy, and pairs of old Bonds Y-fronts (for polishing).

This photo could have been taken thirty years ago, and it would all look the same. But if it was cycling or archery or tennis or even golf, we'd pick it straight off. Mind you, I don't know what ground-breaking developments have laid hold of croquet or jousting or bocce recently, but my suspicion is that bowls is not on its own.

Yet bowls is our focus for this special 'sports blog' focus - so enough about horses and mallets.

Will bowls always be like this? Will those little ubiquitous lawns and annexes always exist as havens of those heated, time-frozen battles (fought for honour and glory and a glass of Tooheys Old after the game)?

It's hard to imagine it being otherwise. What will become of bowls? Will it eventually die out, or will it continue to be a drawcard for the over-sixties? Why is it that bowls has so successfully maintained a presence in an advancing society with virtually nil [observable] adjustments to the median age of its members or to its technology? What's the attraction, the 'holding power' here?

For all the interest that Crackerjack stirred up, I suspect it'll be a long time before demographic realignment forces your local bowls club to install a 'swear jar'. It may well be that nuclear holocaust will rid of all but cockroaches, Tupperware, and the game of bowls.

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