From the moment I lost considerable weight, I have been approached by people and companies looking to align my success with their products.
Old men in blazers with old fashioned views. A place where you go for funerals and 40th – 60th birthday parties. A place with drink prices and attitudes stuck in the past. If I’m honest, that’s how I perceived bowling clubs. Not a place that an, ahem , young hip and progressive person like me would go.
But maybe it’s my Presbyterian roots, but something about the discipline, tradition and the seeming simplicity of Lawn Bowls had always intrigued me
So, when Woodend Bowling Club and Bowls Scotland invited myself and some other Team14 members (including women and children!!) along to help promote the sport ahead of the Commonwealth Games, I thought, hell, I am now the wrong side of 40. It’s about time I took up a sport more befitting my age (I’ll hopefully be running well into my seventies, health permitting)
But, it wasn’t only that. Woodend Bowling Club were tweeting. They were funny, engaging and had pictures of kids having fun. This was not a Bowling Club like any I had visited before. And the introduction to bowling was more fun than I would ever have imagined.
We were met by Tom, who introduced us to our coach Ron of Team Scotland. We were given quick and concise instructions on how to hold and then release the bowl. To my horror, my week of practising lunges was in vain, as Tom explained how bowling required only small and controlled movements.
We were then let loose on the Crazy Bowling course, a range of fun obstacles, designed to develop skills and which had introduced bowls to over 1,000 children in the area. Was this REALLY a bowling club? Even little 4 year old Reese was having a ball, or should that be bowl?
Once we had honed our skills, it was match time. Now, some might say I’m a tad competitive, so when it came to picking teams, I quickly partnered with Paula, who has taken part in 17 Commonwealth Games sports. She would make up for my general sporting ineptitude. However, I forgot why Paula had set herself the challenge of trying the sports of Glasgow 2014. She’s as bad at sports as I am!
Thankfully, we had Louise, a 14 year old super kid, come to our rescue and we trounced (maybe a little exaggeration) Louise’s dad and @glasgowdaybyday and @buteifulbute in the last end. Bowling may have modernised, but I am not sure if my subsequent victory dance, fist pumping and hollering are now part of everyday matches.
It was a great night and as it progressed, I really felt I was improving. It’s a relatively quick game to learn the basics. I was obviously not alone, in thinking I had potential, as Ron had some inspiring words.
Bowling really is a sport that almost all can try and as a physical activity advocate, I noted that we were too busy having fun and focusing on the game, to notice that we were constantly moving, bending and lifting. Bowls Scotland are launching a Try Bowls campaign, and as a try athlete, I’d urge you to seek out your local club, take along your kids and find out just why, all these years, old smart men in blazers, were trying to keep it to themselves.
When I first started this blog I never knew where it would lead me. I’ve become a Lay Adviser and blogger for the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and I now blog about all things running for Great Run. I get to provide regular content on physical activity for my pals at SpogoUK while I am also looking forward to supporting the British Obesity Society and the great new magazine Man V Fat. And I am finally a MARATHON RUNNER, having completed my first 26.2 miles (I lost count of how often I asked myself how many miles I had left) in Copenhagen I love guest blogging, but it’s time to resurrect “How Many Miles?”. It’s time to come home from my busman’s holiday. Home, for me, is Glasgow and this summer Glasgow will be home to athletes, officials and spectators from across the world as it hosts the 2014 Commonweath Games. As I’ve transformed, I’ve also watched my home city transform. Like my own journey, there have been hiccups. We’ve both had to knock down barriers and, at times, we both have had our detractors. There have been mistakes, but neither myself nor Glasgow have given up and come this summer we will both be looking better than ever. Like Glasgow, I have benefited from the tremendous support of those around me. The success of Glasgow 2014 will be dependent on its amazing army of volunteers as much as on the sporting prowess of its participants. I missed the deadline for Frontrunners last year and felt others were more deserving when I was nominated as a Baton Bearer. However, in March, there came along an opportunity to play my role at Glasgow 2014 and I am delighted to announce that I’ll be regularly bringing updates and adding my perspective (for what it’s worth) on the Games. For I have been invited to join #Team14. Glasgow 2014’s fourteen strong team of bloggers, each reporting on various categories linked to Glasgow and the Games. www.adventuresaroundscotland.com will be posting about Glasgow/Scotland and Events while others like www.longstraightwalk.co.uk , http://glasgowdaybyday.com/ , http://www.glasgowmummy.blogspot.co.uk/ , http://www.eclecticcake.blogspot.co.uk/ , http://spoldham.blogspot.co.uk/ and www.paulamusttryharder.co.uk will be covering categories including the Baton Relay, News, Lifestyle and Photography. I’ll be covering Sports and Events with updates here and on Twitter at @howmanymiles_ Look out for #Team14 on all of our posts and I hope you will follow and enjoy my/our ramblings