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Monday, June 27, 2022

Aggro Middle Aged Blokes in Bowls



AMABs on The Green

I wanted to buy a new set of bowls but the bloke serving me appeared far more interested in turning my enquiry into an opportunity to tell me (brag about) how many club championships and significant tournaments he’d won, how many times he’d represented the State and the crucial role he’d played in bowls design and manufacturing over the years.

When I tried to steer the conversation back to the business at hand- me wanting to buy a new set of bowls he took umbrage and put me in my place by posing a loaded question.

“ You obviously don’t know anything about bowls,” he told me.

Well, what I do know about bowls is that I’ve met some wonderful people over the years. People I wouldn’t have otherwise crossed paths with if I hadn’t been introduced to our wonderful game. In my experience, the majority of bowlers are by and large pleasant people enjoying the camaraderie and let’s not forget competition, which goes hand in hand on the greens. However, the sore point of bowls has always been the AMABs- Aggro Middle Aged Blokes. In my reckoning the most unpleasant types you’ll likely encounter on the greens. Harbouring chips on their shoulders for not having made the grade as VFL footballers, Test cricketers or whatever sport they played in their youth.

They invariably take up bowls thinking they’ll finally become champions at a sport only to find themselves frustrated and ‘unsupported’ by selectors, teammates dropping short shit bowls in their line-path and up against countless ‘lucky- arsey’ opponents…….

The amount of ‘lucky’ opponents these blokes come up against defies the odds.

And they tend to be miserable sods to be around, for both teammates and opponents alike.

Most clubs have had them as former members. The bigger clubs tend to have a handful staking their ranks at any given time. And they have a habit of boring all and sundry with variations of, “If I’d only kissed-wicked that front bowl I’d have trailed the kitty back for 6 and I would have – could have blah blah……… .”

Now in direct contrast to the show pony selling bowls and general grandstanding by AMABs I was privy to witness one of the occasional inspiring incidents one gets to experience on the greens.

Peggy is our club’s oldest pennant bowler at 95. She usually sits on the sidelines decked out in club colours supporting her teammates and filling in whenever the team is short.

Recently one of our selected bowlers didn’t show up for an away game however our team manager was reluctant to call on Peggy because the weather forecast predicted a 30-degree day. But she was keen as mustard to get on the green, even though she hadn’t brought her bowls or arm along. The home team said they had a man’s arm in the locker room but qualified it by suggesting that it would be too big for her (Peggy‘s a petite woman).

She wasn’t deterred and asked them to drag out the arm.
“I’ll be right.”

She went on to play 21 ends, trailed the kitty a few times and performed admirably to boot.

I’ve never heard her whinge about selectors, teammates or blame the state of poor greens for her performance. She only castigates herself for her own bad bowls- no one else.

I don’t know if Peggy has ever won a club championship or anything about her past bowling glories. Anyhow, I doubt she’d tell you about it, she just gets on with the job at hand.

Unlike the bloke in the bowls shop.

aggro middle aged blokes in bowls

Paul Soldatich, not technically an AMAB (hasn’t turned 40 yet) but constantly carries on like one with post-match nonsense such as, “Don’t these bloody selectors realize that I’m the best skip in the club- hands down.”

“If it wasn’t for ME this club would be languishing in Division 6.”

“If that short shit bowl wasn’t there I would have trailed the kitty into the ditch for 8.”

aggro middle aged blokes in bowls

Ivan Gaal – Unlike the average AMAB, Ivan was a champion sportsperson. Selected for the 1960 Rome Olympics and won a World Masters Championship in canoeing.

He took up bowling post middle age and avoided AMAB traits. Has starred since joining Princess Park after being overlooked whilst a member at an Ocker- Boozer’s Bowls Club. There are some bowling clubs that don’t appreciate wogs with a cultivated English vocabulary and a better draw shot than blokes who’ve bowled for decades!

aggro middle aged blokes in bowls

Steve Mooney – Giulio Soldatich said of him. “A good bowler but he takes too many risks. I enjoy bowling with him but I wouldn’t lend him any money.”

aggro middle aged blokes in bowls

Santo Caruso- The complete opposite of an AMAB. A great ambassador for Princess Park and bowls in general. Friendly [ some of his female opponents have suggested too friendly ], and good-natured on and off the green. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked around the bowling traps- “ How’s that short bloke from PP, what’s his name Sam…no, Santo. Jeez what a nice bloke.”

aggro middle aged blokes in bowls

Al Parkes – A pacifier of AMABs. He’s capable of lulling and pacifying these blokes during the course of a bowls match. He disarms and invariably goes on to beat them.

And they end up buying him beers for hours on end after the game, convinced what a great bloke he is. A priceless skill.

Clubs with an AMAB problem should bring him aboard as a troubleshooter come, consultant.

This is the unedited version of an article which recently appeared in The Shot.
The editor thought it prudent to re jig it, omitting something which I thought was pertinent to the piece because a principal advertiser would have got his nose out of joint.

Fabrizio Marsani