The Duncan carpet bowling team that attended the 2016 Canada 55+ Games in Ontario last week came home with silver medals, but to hear them tell it, the real miracle is that they are still speaking to each other.
“We all went in good health, and we all came back in good health,” skip Joan Ayers said. “We all went as friends, and we all came back as friends.”
Ayers and her teammates — lead Connie Parker, second Gordon Kent and third Lois Haas — also placed second overall in the 70+ division in the carpet bowling competition at the 55+ games in Brampton, missing out on gold by just a single point in the standings. They were beaten by the foursome from Ontario, which, as host, had the biggest contingent of athletes at the games.
Upon arrival in Brampton, the Duncan team had to adapt quickly to some unfamiliar rules. By the last day of competition, the Cowichan quartet had things figured out, however.
“It was so different,” Ayers said. “It was a real learning curve.”
All the carpet bowling teams in both the 70+ and 55+ divisions played in one competition, each facing each other twice. They played four games a day for a total of 12 games per team.
Finishing second, and within a point of first, was beyond the team’s wildest dreams.
“We were very happy to get silver,” Ayers commented. “We wanted to come back with a medal.”
Kent noted how impressive it was that the team from the Valley Seniors Organization was able to compete with bowlers from across the country.
“Take a little town like Duncan, up against Toronto, with five million people,” he said.
The season isn’t over yet, as Ayers, Kent and Haas will be heading to the BC Seniors Games in Coquitlam this September.
Parker pointed out that there is always a need for new participants in carpet bowling at the Valley Seniors Organization in downtown Duncan, where they play every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with games beginning at 9:30 a.m.
“We need new bowlers,” she said. “A lot of them are aging out.”
All of the Duncan players noted that they have back problems of one kind or another, and all except Parker are over 80, so there are few excuses they will accept for not taking part.
“If you’ve got the mind to do it, you can do it,” Ayers said.