From Bashful Beginner to Bowling Buff
04 May 2023
But in the two-and-a-half years since, the retired builder has discovered an unexpected love and aptitude for the game. So much so that not only has he graduated from beginners’ classes to “big boys’ bowls”, but now he’s sharing his expertise with other bowling newbies.
“I always thought bowls was an old man’s sport but I needed something to occupy my mind so I started going to (former Dannemora resident) Ron Cherry’s beginners’ bowling classes. I did that for about 18 months until one day Ron suggested I swap days and play with the more experienced guys. I was absolutely terrified, but now I play with them three days a week, and I’ve also taken over teaching the Tuesday beginners’ bowls,” says Ross.
So what is it about the sport that’s captured his interest? “I actually love the challenge. As a lifelong builder, precision and accuracy have always been part of my DNA, and these are key to doing well in bowls.”
A natural talent for sport and a competitive nature have also undoubtedly helped.
“I’ve been into sports all my life. At school I played rugby, cricket and a bit of league, and I later went on to play competitive volleyball, representing Auckland and competing in Oceania twice. For me bowls is a bit like golf – yes you play it with other people, but you are always trying to better your own performance or handicap.”
A self-confessed perfectionist and an active relaxer, when Ross isn’t honing his techniques on the green, you’ll likely find him tinkering in his workshop fixing things for residents or helping out Larry, the village maintenance man.
“I’ve been in the building industry since 1962 and I owned my own business for 30 years. Building has been my passion; it’s been my life. If I see something that needs fixing, I like to fix it. It keeps me occupied. I also drive the village bus when they’re short of a driver, taking residents on their shopping trips and other outings.”
It’s a busy ‘retirement’ but Ross wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Before we moved in here, my wife Val and I used to think retirement villages were for old people - and neither of us have ever considered ourselves to be old. But we absolutely love living at Dannemora Village. Knowing what we know now, we wish we’d moved in years ago!”