He saw it, tried it, and now he’s ready to roll.
Lawn bowler Travis Anderson from Guelph, is setting off for Scotland to compete in an international championship in March.
The 27-year-old will compete in the gold singles short mat lawn bowling event at the tournament from March 17-19.
“I have never made it to the world level before. Getting to this stage and being able represent Canada, to see how I stack up with the rest of the world, I’m thrilled to experience it,” Anderson said.
Short mat lawn bowling is an emerging sport in Canada.
“It’s played more so over the winter. It’s indoors and the mat is only 45 feet long. So, it has slightly different rules,” Anderson said.
“A typical green grass outside is between 100-120 feet long. There’s slightly different mechanics but generally, short mat follows the same principals.”
The first time Canada entered the world stage in short mat lawn bowling was in 2016.
More established in the United Kingdom, Anderson, says many other countries are now showing interest in the sport.
“There is a small community in Canada, with about a couple thousand members, but in Scotland alone, there are 35,000,” he said.
“So, we are a little bit behind the times. Normally, Canada has a strong foothold in sport, and we are trying to get there with this as well.”
Canada will send 20 representatives to the three-day international competition, competing on either an A Team (gold) or B Team (silver) in four disciplines including singles, pairs, triples, and fours.
Previously, Anderson was a competitive curler, but he says after a while, he had the desire to try something new.
While a student at the University of Guelph, Anderson ‘just happened’ to pass by the Guelph Lawn Bowling Club.
“I thought, hey, this looks nice. And with the warm weather and fresh air, I was interested, right then and there,” Anderson said.
He officially joined the lawn bowling club in 2019.
“The Guelph Lawn Bowling Club was quite big many years ago. And from the 1980’s to the early 2000’s, we were close to 100-150 members,” Anderson said.
“Since then, we lost a bit of traction. I heard that there was a time when we were down to only nine members.”
Since 2018, there was a push to get back on track in terms of membership.
“We were back up to 45. Then COVID-19 hit. So, we lost some members, but now we gained new members because people wanted to get outside,” Anderson said.
“We are now back up to 95.”
Anderson was elected as club president in the 2021 season.
“I’ve now passed on the torch to a new president who is just as thrilled and energized to get things going,” Anderson said.
“There’s a lot of plans in the works. We want to start off the new season strong.”
A typical season at the Guelph Lawn Bowling Club runs from May until the end of September.
Anderson says lawn bowling is for all ages.
“We just lowered our age bracket. It used to be 18 and up. We want to encourage youth, so we lowered it to 10 last year, and this year, maybe even closer to five. We hope parents can come out too,” Anderson said.
Anderson says lawn bowling is for everyone and is a true social sport.
“I just enjoy it. I also love the fun thrill of socializing with everybody, and it’s a nice close-knit group,” he said.
“It's such a great atmosphere. I love looking out of the clubhouse window, and seeing the park and the green. It really makes it worthwhile to spend a night out in the open air.”
Anderson says friends and family are thrilled to see him compete at the international level.
“One of our club members is going to be my coach and supporter, because he is also Scottish. He’s going to show me around and we are planning to stay a few days afterwards. He wants to go and cheer me on,” he said.
Anderson says a win would be amazing, but he is so grateful for the experience to represent Canada.
“To have Canada on my back, and compete, it really is something,” Anderson said.
“I’ve received great support, and that goes a long way.”