A Participant's look at coping with COVID-19
Wanting to give his fellow Mitcham Bowling Club participants a laugh during the COVID-19 pandemic, retiree Phil Brady talks about his “Iso Bowls Club” video and how excited he is to get back on the green with restrictions around lawn bowls now easing.
Having been playing for almost 16 years, COVID-19 brought a sudden halt to Phil’s favourite past-time with mid-week pennant competition put on hold.
“While I don’t normally play much post-pennant season, when you are told you can’t do something you want to do it even more," Phil said. "I was missing my club and club mates, the social aspect and the companionship of the bowls community which is so important to a lot of people.”
To fill the hole which COVID-19 had created, Phil shot a video in his own backyard, titled “Iso Bowls Club” that featured him setting up a green marked out by wooden spoons from the kitchen drawer, a mat temporarily on loan from his bathroom as well as a scoreboard.
The video also includes a raffle at tea-time (conveniently won by Phil), a few unconventional bowling methods including the use of a pitchfork and refreshments at the end of a grueling day’s play.
“With plenty of time on my hands, I thought I would try and give the Mitcham BC boys and girls a bit of a chuckle. I tried to capture all the facets of game day that most bowls clubs share.”
All Phil required was his iPhone 6, support from his wife Maria (serving as cinematographer) and a few hours of editing as he added title slides and music.
“I surprised myself with the editing as I have never done that before. But I think Spielberg and Tarantino can still sleep comfortably.”
Phil’s video, initially featured on Mitcham Bowling Club’s social media pages, was then shared by Bowls Victoria where it garnered over 150 likes and 70 shares.
The success of the video had the public crying out for a sequel and Phil obliged with the follow-up piece focusing on a game of carpet bowls due to the wintery conditions outside.
There may be no need for a “Iso Bowls Club” trilogy though with recent easing of restrictions allowing players to return to lawn bowls.
Numbers are still limited and activities before and after play are not allowed but Phil is grateful for the small gains.
“It’s funny how rusty you get after a few months off but it is great to be back. It’s different not having the chance to catch up with others afterwards but if not having a drink after bowls is our biggest problem, we are very fortunate.
“Like most sports, bowls relies on the goodwill and efforts of volunteers and constant fundraising. This time in limbo has impacted on finances so it will take some time to rebound and clubs must think of creative ways to increase revenue to sustain and grow our sport.
“Support from all levels of government is critical right now and we are all part of the long queue for support. But Bowls Victoria and the national body are aimed at growing participation and this is bearing fruit at club level and beyond so I am confident for the future.”