Colin – Keeping active with lawn bowls

ColinColin told us about his experience of playing competitive lawn bowls. For Colin, who has Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), lawn bowls helps him to get some exercise and keep mobile. He believes that it’s a sport that anyone can get involved in.

How did you first get involved in lawn bowls?

In 1997 I started playing “bare foot bowls” on a Tuesday night at Marlin Coast Bowls Club, Cairns. My muscular dystrophy symptoms first appeared in 1971. I started bowling in the conventional style, but since the progression of my FSHD I now use a “bowling arm” apparatus – which means I don’t have to bend. As I deliver the bowls standing upright, my balance is not compromised. Other bowlers are often amazed at my prowess with the arm and have threatened to do nasty things with it on many occasions.

Bowling highlights:

Club pairs title 2013.

What are your future goals in lawn bowls?

To win more club titles and to get into the Queensland disabled team.

Why do you love lawn bowls?

The sport is a great leveler, anyone can play and do well, from teenagers to elderly, fit or disabled, everyone has a chance. Each game involves about one kilometre of walking in twenty-five metre lengths, which is good gentle exercise and keeps me mobile. I bowl at least three times each week. Most clubs provide disability access, in the form of steps or ramps, for access to and from the green and facilities within the clubrooms.

I am on the committee of my local club and play competitively in open tournaments around Cairns. I compete annually at the Queensland Multi-Disability State Championships, which has sections for people with vision, hearing, intellectual or physical disabilities. There is a great camaraderie between competitors, even across the disability sections and a great chance to catch up with old friends from previous years’ competitions. The bowling standard is very high and the spectators who have not seen disability bowls before are quite often amazed.