The Royal Canadian Legion in Emo opened for carpet bowling season, the first week of September. After the seniors finish playing, they all gather – while physically distanced – for a luncheon meal.
With COVID-19, all seniors play with their masks on and use different sanitized woods to push the balls along the carpet.
Last week there were about 13 seniors carpet bowling; this is the average number the Legion usually sees, even before COVID-19.
Trudy Badiuk, 63, and Glenda Belluz, 68, both chose to prepare lasagna, caesar salad and pudding to serve after the game rounds are over. Badiuk and Belluz said they like to volunteer for the Legion because they are retired and it gives them something to do.
Among the players were Dorothy Sylvester, Bill Sylvester, John Ploegman and Adelia Guba.
Adelia Guba uses a quad cane to move from one end of the carpet to the other, but her aiming skills are outstanding.
“I had four strokes but I’m doing great,” Guba chuckled.
To join carpet bowling, call the Emo Legion Branch 99 at (807) 482-2250, message them over Facebook or drop by Thursday mornings. Bowling starts at 9 a.m., with lunch to follow.
Carpet bowling originated from south of England, where it is often being referred to as mat bowling. The English sport then expanded to different parts of eastern Canada, including small townships in Quebec. Carpet bowling is very similar to curling, but is done on a mat instead of ice. It is a scaled-down form of bowling that can be played indoors and in small halls.
The sport grew so popular, that there was a formal English Carpet Bowls Association (ECBA). Although carpet bowling is played for leisure at the Legion, there are championships at the national level in England. The ECBA holds four championship in nine counties in England including Essex, Durham and Norfolk.
How to play carpet bowling
Like many other forms of bowling, participants roll a bowl down a carpet towards the target – also known as the jack. The team that gets their bowl closest to the jack wins. Although sliding a bowl down a carpet may sound like an easily-won game, the precision and concentration it takes says otherwise. The carpet that this game is played on is about 30 ft. in length and six ft. wide. The bowling balls are designed and weighted precisely on one side so that if the wrong play is made, the ball curls off and leaves the carpet.