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Glasgow 2014: Bowled over by the young and old at Kelvingrove

Glasgow 2014: Bowled over by the young and old at Kelvingrove
glasgow-2014-bowled-over-by-the-young-and-old-at-kelvingrove
This is not another ironic feature http://www.saintsshop.us.com/Brandin_Cooks_Jersey about bowls. That would be too easy. And untruthful. Because I watched some bowls at Kelvingrove and it was a treat. On a hot day in Glasgow, where else would you rather be? It wasn't fast and frazzling, it was slow and soothing. It didn't get the heart pumping, but it was cerebral. Except for that racket from the stereo. "To be honest," said Duncan Piggott, a bowls fan from the small Scottish town of Bonnybridge, struggling to be heard over some weapons-grade AC/DC, "I feel like going down there and pulling the plug out." He was smiling, but he meant it. Over on one of the many show rinks, Authentic Basketball Jerseys a small stand full of grey heads topped by white hats failed to be moved by Iggy Pop's Lust For Life. It's not that they don't have a lust for life, it's just that it doesn't involve Iggy Pop. It involves bowls. We live in a world where being slow, soothing and cerebral can be perceived as a problem. At least where sport is concerned. Even the organisers of 'sexy' sports such as track cycling feel compelled to make them sexier still. The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome resembled a surrealist rave at times during this Commonwealth Games. It says something about the attitude towards the elderly in the United Kingdom that bowls is the target of so much ridicule. According to charity Age UK, there are 14.5m people in the UK over 60, which is more than there are under 18. So why is it still funny that old people do what they do? "We can't get rid of this old man's image, which isn't helped by certain journalists who come to the main competitions," said England head coach John Bell, a legend of the sport and incoming president of World Bowls. "Instead of concentrating on the competition, they concentrate on the crowd. And the average age is old, that's the nature of the beast. But the ironic pieces have been done to death. Bowls is what it is and we're extremely proud of it. "Even the journalists who take the mickey out of bowls can't help but acknowledge the decency that's involved in the game, the behaviour and etiquette. It's understated and under-promoted and under-appreciated." On the rink, the stereotype of bowls Preston Brown Youth Jersey as a game for elderly gentlemen dressed in white is hopelessly out of date. Alistair Hollis, development officer for Bowls England, described it as "a sport for young people that old people can play, too". The winner of this year's World Indoor Bowls women's singles title was 18-year-old Katherine Rednall. Natalie Melmore, who was defending her women's singles title in Glasgow, triumphed in Delhi four years ago as a 21-year-old. The average age of England's women's team in Glasgow is 25. The youngest member is Melmore's fellow Devonian Sophie Tolchard, who is competing in the triples and fours at the age of 22. Lunching together at Kelvingrove, decked out in Team England tracksuits, they look every inch like athletes. "Lawn bowls isn't what people think it is, it's not just an old people's game," said Tolchard, whose hopes in Glasgow hinge on the triples after England's women's fours team were beaten by South Africa. "It's a difficult game, requiring lots http://www.bearsshop.us.com/Nate_Collins_Jersey of skill, and not as easy as it looks. We have a psychologist and did fitness testing at Loughborough before the Games. You can't compare us to swimmers or runners, but we all want to be as fit as we can." Tolchard admitted to being exasperated by media coverage of her sport, as well as its inability to shake off its fusty image. It doesn't help, she conceded, that the World Indoors is sponsored by Just Retirement. "The World Indoors is the only bowls most people might see and it doesn't represent it in the most accurate light," said Tolchard. "It can be a bit slow, the crowd are all quite old. It would be great if our international series, involving England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, was televised.

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