Only this week I had the painful task of ‘rescuing’ bowls equipment from a park bowls club.
It was a true rescue, because 24 hours later the club secretary handed the gate keys back to the council.
The rescued stuff is here on our web site and available free to any club that can collect it.
So I asked myself, Why are so many park bowls clubs shutting down?
Surely not because our leading bowls players don’t make headlines by getting snapped drunk in charge of a pedalo?
The answer most often given is a combination of declining membership and a withdrawal of council funding.
In the last five years dozens, if not hundreds of publicly-funded lawn bowls greens closed and are now growing wild or being sold to developers.
While the financial squeeze on local authority budgets is clearly to blame, budgeting is all about choices.
The real question is why do local authorities choose public bowls greens for the axe instead of finding some other way of saving money?
One answer has to be that the sport itself doesn’t have a strong enough voice where it counts – where these financial decision are being made.
Can this voice get stronger? A crude but effective response is to find a way to introduce the cult of celebrity into the game of lawn bowls. Celebrity brings attention, media focus, and interest.
Paparazzi are just not interested in the likes of Alex Marshall, Ellen Faulkner, Sian Honnor, Michael Stepney, Andy Thomson, Carla Banks, Greg Harlow or Gareth Humphreys.
They are not celebrities – their names don’t rank alongside Bobby Moore, Will Carling, Jayne Torvill or Lewis Hamilton. Are their sporting achievements are less worthy?
Is it because their sport isn’t televised week-in, week out? Or that their behaviour is too good to warrant regular media exposure?
Or am I missing something?