National Team member Emma Boyd checks in with her fellow teammates about how they are coping with quarantining, social distancing and missing bowls in this Biased Bowls post. Emma reached out to her Team Canada colleagues with a number of questions and here is what she heard back.
In September 2019, I made the decision to follow my dreams and visit Queensland, Australia. While it was a big decision to spend some extended time on the other side of the world, it allowed me to not only pursue post-secondary education (I am studying Marketing, Communications and Online SEO), but also to pursue my passion of bowls. Obviously a little thing called COVID-19 has changed the way I thought this year was going to unfold.
When the pandemic was declared, Australia was impacted with the rest of the world. While Australia has not had as many cases as Canada, we have also experienced quarantines, closures and social distancing. I found myself trying my hand at baking and surprisingly taking up a bit of running (I am working on getting my best 5k time!). I have been hiking, exploring the Queensland hinterland and checking out the Australian beaches which have been quite cold during the winter.
So I knew how this situation was impacting me, but I wanted to know how the rest of my teammates were dealing with this new situation. I sent them each a series of questions and what follows is a glimpse into how this pandemic is impacting their lives in their respective parts of the world.
My fellow Team Canada Members who joined me in this post are:
Greg Wilson – When not playing vice in Triples and Fours for Team Canada or playing at the Calgary Lawn Bowling Club, Greg can be found working in the Northern Alberta as a Survey Assistant. Greg believes in giving back to his sport and is a member of the Bowls Alberta board.
Leanne Chinery – As a Registered Nurse working in Australia, Leanne has an expert view to the impact of a global pandemic. Leanne is a veteran Team Canada member and has represented Canada at Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
Baylee vanSteijn – Baylee is going into her second year at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario where she is training as a Physiotherapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant. An all-round athlete who has competed in a multitude of sports, Baylee is relatively new to the High Performance Squad having worked her way up over the years through the Youth and Development Squad pathway.
Pat Bird – Pat has represented Canada on the international scene numerous times over the years. A respected leader on and off the green, Pat has mentored many up and coming Canadian bowlers. Pat is also a regular volunteer and has served on his provincial bowls association board in his home province of Alberta.
Cameron Lefresne – Cam works as a survey technician in his home province of Nova Scotia. A member of a multi-generational bowls family, Cam was recently elected to the board of LBNS where he is working to continue to develop the sport across his province.
Jordan Kos – Jordan is heading in her third year of an education program at the University of Regina. Jordan was recently selected to represent Canada at the 2019 Asia Pacific Championship and 2020 World Bowls Championships teams. In addition to bowling, Jordan is actively involved in developing the sport as a volunteer at her home club.
Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong – A Team Canada veteran and Canada’s 2019 Champion of Champion representative, Shirley recently went back to school and attained her certification as a medical lab professional by the Canadian Society for Medical Lab Sciences. Shirley was also part of the organizing committee when the 2018 Canadian Youth Championships were hosted in Winnipeg.
What are you surprised to be doing in quarantine that you weren’t before?
PAT: I would have to say cooking
GREG: With so many people fallen on desperate times through all this craziness, I was surprised to find that I have been crazy busy at work. It was weird to be so busy while so many people I knew seemed to be enjoying PJ days around the house on their “Pandemic Pause.” I am not complaining though as I am I’m grateful to be busy.
LEANNE: Walking along the ocean everyday. I live close enough to walk but have always been so busy between work and bowls that I haven’t really had time to enjoy it regularly. During quarantine I walked everyday when I didn’t have to be at work. Which was a good thing, helped me burn off the calories from all the baking I did! LOL!
BAYLEE: I am surprised to be working because at the beginning of this pandemic I was not sure if I was going to have a job this year. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to work and provide my community a safe place to get on and off the water as well as get their boat serviced. In these difficult times it is important for people to get outside and enjoy what they can. I work at a marina in Ontario where we rent boats, service boats and have a boat launch. We are a very busy place because going boating with your immediate family is one of the safer things to do rather than go to parks or camping where they are busy and clustered with people. I am also surprised to be doing a lot of kayaking, fishing and swimming during my free time. Usually every day after work I would head into town and practice on the greens. Right now because my club is not open yet, I have had time to enjoy the water and the beautiful sunsets. I also took my neighbour out for her first time fishing and she loved it.
SHIRLEY: I am surprised how many virtual meetings and messaging things I use quasi comfortably now, although I still like an email or a phone call. If this keeps up I could have my own blog in a year! I am also a little surprised that I, as someone who could be considered a ‘planner’, is doing quite well living in the moment and accepting that we’ll adjust to whatever comes as we need to.
CAM: I haven’t really been “quarantined” as work never stopped for me. But I’d have to say the amount of zoom meetings I’ve had to do has been surprising.
How are you trying to get your Bowls fix?
PAT: I’ve been playing a fair bit year-round for the past few seasons, so I’m finding the time away from the game is recharging my batteries so to speak.
LEANNE: Honestly, I didn’t try and get a bowls fix. Living in Australia and being on the national squad, bowls is a year-round thing and can easily be all consuming, so I took the break away from the game completely. Interestingly enough, in chatting with friends all around the world many said the same thing. They really enjoyed the time away from the game, the training, reporting, analysing, competing, etc.
JORDAN: Prior to the Regina Lawn Bowling Club opening, I was watching the Canadian Bowler podcast on YouTube and Facebook and reviewing bowls games. I always sit in front of my computer with a big bowl of popcorn, my beverage of choice for the day, and watch bowls being rolled. It’s the next best thing to being on the greens!
BAYLEE: I am getting my bowls fix by watching The Canadian Bowler Show that Darryl Fitzgerald and Luke Caldwell post. I also follow several bowls Facebook pages where they are sharing streams of past games.
GREG: My teammate Rob relocated to Calgary for a law internship at the beginning of the pandemic. Since I was working up North at the time, Rob was able to quarantine in my apartment. He and I have been having some pretty heated bowls matches in my basement since I have been back. I think I’ve managed more deliveries this year than I have over the last five!
SHIRLEY: Manitoba was fortunate to be at the forefront of reopening sport in Canada. I am getting my bowls fix playing in a singles league that I have not participated in before. Working from home now makes it easier to get to the green in time for the early start.
What is one thing you miss doing and one thing you surprisingly don’t miss?
PAT: One thing I miss doing for sure is my morning coffee with the guys at work. One thing I surprisingly don’t miss is watching live sports on TV — Movies tend to have happier endings than watching the Riders.
JORDAN: Our club is open now, so I am on the greens as much as possible. However, prior to that, I really missed rolling bowls. Regina’s lawn bowls club is set in a beautiful, park setting, lined with mature trees. It’s tranquil. I really missed that. What don’t I miss? I guess my answer is….laundry! It’s surprising how many ways you can wear a good pair of sweatpants when you are quarantined.
CAM: Obviously I miss bowling. I don’t miss the stores being crowded….but I guess that is not actually surprising.
SHIRLEY: I miss team play and going for a cold drink or ice cream with my team after the game. I don’t miss rush hour traffic through construction at 5 pm or ironing clothes for the work week on Sunday evening or paying more for parking than for lunch.
BAYLEE: I really miss seeing all my club members at practice and jitneys. Our club house (Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club) is located right near the beach where on Tuesday nights the concert band plays and every night is a beautiful sunset. I also miss competing at tournaments and seeing all the bowlers. One thing that I don’t really miss is training in this 40 degree weather.
Attach two pictures with no explanation from your time in quarantine that make you smile, they don’t have to be Bowls related.
Any last thoughts you would like to share?
SHIRLEY: It is so important that we all listen to the advice of public health experts and show concern for our fellow citizens so we can get through this situation the best that we can. We want people to be able to work, go to school, access services, get the goods they need and want and visit loved ones. We want space in our hospitals for people who need all types of care.
That means we have to stay home if we are sick, give each other some space indoors and out, use the hand sanitizer and wear the mask. Let’s not get caught up in harmful arguments we see elsewhere. Think about it. You can drive a car, but you can’t drink and drive or go over the speed limit because that endangers others. You can smoke cigarettes, but not in public indoor spaces because second hand smoke endangers others. You can take transit, shop and access services but sanitize your hands and wear the mask so you don’t endanger others. Let’s be kind and considerate of those around us. We can do this!
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. I would love to hear from you! Leave your name, location and answers to the questions in the comments below. In the meantime, stay safe everyone!