Anne VanBastelaere bowls a practice round at her home green in Sidney to prepare for the national competition in Port Alberni.

Bowling for medals

Sidney lawn bowler hopes for second national podium

Anne VanBastelaere is a year-round bowler — and award-winner.

The lady lawn bowler is out this week, practicing an hour a day at her home club in Sidney, preparing for national competition starting tomorrow (Sept. 8) in Port Alberni.

“Before the provincials I practice by myself a lot or with my husband, who calls himself my sparring partner,” she said with a laugh.

She’s already hit one national competition this season. To get there, VanBastelaere earned provincial gold as the lead on a foursome with three ladies from the Lower Mainland. VanBastelaere and her Team BC cohorts then spent a hot and humid week — at times huddled in the clubhouse avoiding lightening — in Toronto where they won a Canadian silver.

“When we go to nationals there’s usually a bunch of young ones. It’s fun to trounce them,” she said with a grin.

She’ll get that chance again this week. After earning a triples provincial title with teammates Ann Mathie (Juan de Fuca) and Marlene Cleutinx (White Rock) in Maple Ridge, the ladies will compete for BC at the national competition in Port Alberni.

Lawn bowling awards aren’t a new concept for VanBastelaere, who has played for 15 years. She even started the 2011 season with an American title under her belt. VanBastelaere was named South Central USA Lady Lawn Bowler of the year for 2010 for her winter competition.

“It was a really big surprise,” she said. “I had to win an awful lot of tournaments.”

Each winter the VanBastelaeres head south to Sun City, Arizona. There they partake in lawn bowling, and her other love, ballroom dancing.

“We dress up to the nines and have a great time,” she said.

People draw her to the sport that she enjoys year-round. Plus it’s all-ages competition.

“Lawn bowling people are extra nice people,” she said. There’s no swearing and coarse language, there’s no nastiness. It’s nice.”

“A 90-year-old can have a good game and beat me,” she added with a grin. “And I can beat a 20-year-old, which is nice.”

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