I have never been one to shirk responsibility. Bring it on! has always been my approach.
However I did blanch a little last
night at Short Mat Bowls on finding myself landed with a responsibility for which I felt, shall we say, ill-equipped.
We have had a long break from our Monday
evening Short Mat Bowls sessions over the summer season so it was with a mixture of eagerness and trepidation that I rummaged about in my wardrobe for my grey trousers and white top. How would I do, after such a long lay-off, I wondered? Would I find myself
right back where I started a year ago? Only one way to find out – onwards and upwards, as they say...
Our Bowls Club Leader and his wife are off enjoying
themselves on holiday in South Africa so it fell to the Second In Command to organise us into teams. Our Club Leader always allocates us positions according to his evaluation of our skill level. Hence I am always a Number One. Number One doesn’t
have too many extra tasks to undertake. Ever so occasionally I play Number Two (usually when there isn’t a Number One because we are playing in a three. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up, all will become clear in the end...) Number Two has
to change the scores on the scoreboard after every end. I can handle that.
Last night, after selecting the three “Skips” (short for Skipper aka the
Team Leader), the Second In Command played Lucky Dip with the rest of us – and, oh, glory be, I drew out a peg with a Number Three on it. Number Three! Me?
Number Three has the most important jobs to do, after the Skip. Number Three has to advise the Skip how he/she should direct the final bowls. Number Three has to consult with the other side’s Number Three to determine the score at the end
of each end. Most important of all, Number Three has to Do The Measuring. With a special tape measure. You see what I mean about responsibility.
as I said before, I am not one to shirk responsibility. Mr B said I could probably exchange my peg with someone else but that seemed to be a bit of a cop-out. No, Number Three I had been drawn and Number Three I should be.
My first problem was that I don’t possess a tape measure. Well, I do, back home in my knitting bag but it’s not the kind used to measure the distance between apparently equi-distant bowls.
Still, a Kind Soul loaned me her tape-measure – that’s one of the best things about this group, it is full of Kind Souls.
I took the responsibility
of advising our Skip very seriously. I used my most confident voice and made sweeping movements with my arms, the way I have seen other Number Threes do. This did not appear to inspire our Skip into anything approaching brilliant bowling, but I am not sure
that can be put down to my instructions. Or, at least, not entirely.
Then, in the fifth end came the moment I had been dreading. “Looks like a measure!”
announced the Number Three on the other side. I agreed, weakly, and got down on my knees, tape measure at the ready, all set to measure the difference between three bowls and the little yellow jack they had been aimed at. My task – with the help of the
tape-measure – to work out whose bowl was nearest the jack.
After watching me struggle for a bit, one of my team-mates whispered, helpfully: “You have
to put the pointy end on the jack....”
Ah, yes, of course – the pointy end. Whatever the implement, if it has a pointy end, then that’s the business
end. Take forks. Like, garden forks, or toasting forks, or plain, ordinary dinner forks – it’s the pointy end that counts. Flag-poles have pointy ends – the other (non-pointy) end gets stuck, ingloriously, in the ground, while the pointy
end sets the flag off to magnificent effect.
Think of church spires, pointing heavenwards – the ultimate in pointy ends. Think of Concorde, one of
my favourite ever aeroplanes. Will we remember it for its sleek lines, the Franco-English co-operation which made it fly or its supersonic qualities? Many people say Concorde is an aviation icon, an engineering marvel.
Others, like me, will just remember it for its magnificent pointy end...