The ball is round – or it is not. When it comes to Carpet Bowling the non-round ball runs in a curve. Exciting.
They look a bit like chocolate and licorice balls. Brown, black and shiny, they roll over the carpet in the multi-purpose hall – not straight ahead, but in a curve. They need a light push so that the ball doesn‘t roll over the end of the carpet. But not too easy, after all, it has to roll up close to the white ball laying on the end.
Carpet bowling sounds a bit weird, and to be fair: that’s what it is. But it’s so much fun. As a WWOOFer, I‘m not only part of my host family, but also of the wonderful community in Big Bay, about 200 kilometers north of Toronto. Neighbor Grace invited me for carpet bowling in my very first week up there. Every Wednesday, the group gathers in the Kemble Arena and rolls out the thick carpets on the hall floor. The teams, each consisting of four members, are be drawn.
One Foot On The Carpet And Off We Go
I admit: I didn‘t venture into the depths of the rules. Therefore they shall only be roughly explained: Three team members stand at one end of the carpet, one, the Skip, at the other. A player of the first team rolls a small white ball, the jack ball, somewhere onto the second half of the carpet. With two hits per player it is now important to place your own team’s balls as close to the white jack-ball as possible – and to hit the balls of the opposing team so they roll away from the jack-ball. Very important: one foot of the player rolling the wall must somehow touch a small rug at the beginning of the large carpet. And the ball must pass through a small rectangle painted on the carpet right next to the little rug.
The special feature of the Carpet Bowliing: The ball is not round but provided with a weight on one side. Therefore, it doesn‘t roll straight ahead, but in a bow. The players don’t target the jack-ball, but at an opposite corner. With his foot, the skip indicates to where the player is supposed to target the ball. That means: never look at the ball, but at the foot of the skip. At the end the player look whose team’s balls are closest to the little white jack and somehow translate it into points. To be honest, I got lost at that point. 😉
When The Turn Comes Sooner Than Expected
With a little practice players can influence the ball’s track. But not exactly one hundred percent. And that’s why it sometimes makes a turn sooner or later than expected. Sounds a bit boring? The opposite is the case. Once in a while it gets quite loud and emotional on one or the other carpet, when a single well-placed throw destroys the confident victory of a team.
The group in Kemble plays just for fun. There is no competitive pressure. And so visitors like me are invited to play. Thank you, Grace, Mary, Linda, and Stan for a victorious first carpet bowling experience and a Canadian piece of culture (which originally comes from England).