We asked the bowls community to share the kind, supportive and helpful gestures that were carried out by clubs, provincial bowls associations, and individual bowlers throughout the pandemic so far. Based on the responses we received, it’s clear that there are some very thoughtful people who make these tough times a little easier for the people around them.
We’ve been hearing about the negatives of the pandemic for months now and it is clear that the psychological effects are experienced as much as the physical effects of the virus. Isolation, anxiety, helplessness, and frustration have been felt to a certain extent by everyone since COVID-19 first starting causing massive social restrictions. It’s easy to succumb to these emotions and let your stress and frustration project onto others. What doesn’t come as easily during trying times is spreading kindness and positivity while dealing with your own negative impacts of the pandemic.
We suspected that the lawn bowls community would be an exception to these norms and we asked bowlers to share their stories of how they were positively impacted over the past season. We heard from individuals across Canada who were speaking on behalf of their province, their club, or themselves, and our suspicions were proven beyond a doubt: Canadian bowlers have been rising to the occasion to spread kindness and consideration to the rest of their community.
Recognizing that the pandemic was causing serious financial strain for Canadians, many clubs chose to support their members by reducing or even eliminating fees The appreciation of this consideration echoed loudly and clearly throughout the shared stories. What was also obvious in the responses, was the community’s desire to continue to support their clubs. One club executive member was overwhelmed with the kindness of their members: despite the club cutting out all fees early on in the pandemic, members continued to call and to find out how they could pay even if they didn’t get to bowl this year. This was a common trend with many bowlers demonstrating their support for their club by either paying fees or making donations to ensure the survival of their club even if bowling wasn’t an option for 2020.
Support also came from outside the bowls community, as safety supplies like hand sanitizer were donated to clubs from local distilleries, and local sponsors who continued to support clubs this past season despite the trying circumstances.
We also heard stories about the many volunteers who stepped up to help implement each new phase of return to play and assist with the COVID-19 protocols. The help from these volunteers allowed the players to stay safe and enjoy the sport again, and enabled clubs to continue operating.
It would be impossible to mention all of the gestures that lifted spirits and reduced feelings of isolation this season, but we want to highlight a few. Many members told us they received phone calls from their club to check in and give them updates, and clubs mentioned keeping in touch with members who did not return this season as well. Several clubs took advantage of social media to maintain communication and spread positivity by creating Facebook groups and sharing humorous posts. Some bowlers also shared stories of outdoor, socially-distanced get-togethers being organized when members were feeling extra isolated.
“An act of kindness can go a long way,” shared one bowler. “In the Spring, everyone was missing bowls, and especially missed the usual social gatherings after bowling. One of our members decided to invite a group over for an informal gathering on her deck, and arranged a beautiful (physically distanced) luncheon. Everyone’s still talking about her kind gesture.”
We have a long Winter ahead of us, and these feelings of anxiety, isolation, and frustration are not going anywhere. We are all in this together and have it in us to continue helping each other, being kind, and spreading positivity. The bowls community has done an outstanding job of this so far, and by continuing to do so, we will come out the other side of this pandemic in good shape.