NICOLA BOWE, 43 FROM WIGTON, CUMBRIA
I have always thoroughly enjoyed sport and gained a great deal from participating. I played hockey, netball, rounders and tennis for my school and was lucky enough to play for my county at hockey the North of England in hockey. I enjoy team sports and gain most from the team banter and camaraderie during competitive sport. I actually started bowling when I was 10 years old - it was just something “I did”. I was lucky that for us as a family it was a hobby that we could all do together at nights and on weekends. My dad played first, then my mam and brother and I soon followed! Now I have the delight of playing with my 18 year old niece. Luckily for me at Wigton Bowls Club there was a generation of young bowlers all of a similar age and we all grew up together; socialised together and remained tight friends - we were known as “the bowlers” in the town and we stuck together and still do today!
People often ask me why I bowl, well its quite simple, I just love it! It is a great game of skill combined with strategy and sports psychology. I thrive on team games rather than singles as I enjoy that team spirit, support and banter. For anyone who hasn’t played it must seem easy when watching but it is a great game of touch and skill. I also love being outside, so for me outdoor bowling is a great pleasure. I’m lucky living where I do that I can play on the most picturesque bowling greens, get some exercise while breathing in some good old fashioned fresh air. There is nothing better than getting on a bowling green on a summer evening! Now I am in a demanding job, I find in particular that it improves my mental health. Alongside bowling, I now visit the gym two to three times a week and find as I get older that both playing bowls and going to the gym has improved my mental well being through helping me to switch off and de-stress after a busy day working as a Deputy Headteacher in a large Junior school.
Having bowled for over 30 years now, moving into coaching seemed like a natural progression. I have always coached sport at a variety of levels - whilst doing my A Level PE I helped out in the school’s PE department coaching a variety of sports to 11 to 16 year olds. I then qualified as a primary teacher and have taught PE for two hours a week as well as providing many extra-curricular sports activities. Getting into coaching bowls has now enabled me to give a bit back to the real game I love and combine the skills I have from my profession.
I think bowls is a non-contact sport that can offer women low impact exercise as there is quite a lot of bending and walking in the game. As well as the physical benefits, there are many benefits of being part of great community spirit with strong team values. Plus you can play at whatever level you feel comfortable with. I don’t think there is any other sport where an 8 year old can play on the same equal playing field to an 80 year old and both compete equally! And bowls has a fantastic social side too - there is always a social event going on in a bowling club to get involved in.