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Five reasons to join Vancouver’s new LGBT lawn bowling league

Blue Heron lawn bowlers launch new league this May in Stanley Park

(Greg Armstrong-Morris)

There’s a new sports league in town! The Blue Heron LGBT Lawn Bowling League will be holding an open house on Saturday, May 2 from 11am–3pm at the Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club, gorgeously set at the westerly end of Beach Avenue and overlooking English Bay.

On a rainy late-April afternoon, I met with league representative Chris Chapman to discuss the top five reasons to sign up.

With his salt-and-pepper charm and the tanned, fit charisma of someone who’s spent a lot of time on various playing fields — think love child of George Clooney and David Beckham — Chapman himself is a pretty good reason to sign up.

Here are five more reasons to join:

1. It’s all about the balls

(etsy.com)

I mean bowls. Chapman explains to me the importance of the distinction between “bowls” and “balls.” (But he knows it’s funnier if you think “balls” whenever you say “bowls.”)

“The bowls aren’t completely round,” he grins. “They’re weighted on one side, so when you throw them they automatically go to the heavier side.”

You had me at balls. I mean bowls.

2. No equipment necessary

(myweb.tiscali.co.uk/kenanderson/startbowls)

“For new members, there are 60 sets of bowls to play with,” Chapman tells me. (It sounds like sports gear night at the PumpJack.)

“After your first year you’re expected to buy your own bowls because you want to have the same size every week,” he notes.

While most of us know exactly what size ball we prefer, Chapman assures me he can help with sizing.

3. No uniform necessary

(lawnsummernights.com)

“The only real rule is no heels, no stillettos,” Chapman says.

While this might rule out the odd drag queen with cripplingly short calf-muscles, it’s a great opportunity to pull out the straw hats and bow ties.

4. Social life on demand

(baronessvonvintage/flickr)

No need to plan ahead — while the Blue Heron League will play every Thursday evening from 7–9pm this summer, members have access to the full roster of drop-in leagues seven days a week. It’s a sport-loving, commitment-phobe’s dream. Just grab your bowls and head for the clubhouse.

5. It’s easy to pick up

(Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Thinkstock)

It’s easy to throw your balls around. I mean bowls. But delivering your bowls like a pro requires finesse. “And the gays are good at finessing,” Chapman winks.

As part of your membership, the club offers lessons throughout May and June. Personally, I’m signing up for training with Coach Chapman.

The Blue Heron LGBT Lawn Bowling League open house will take place on Saturday, May 2 from 11am–3pm at the Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club, 2099 Beach Ave in Vancouver.