Warm temperatures and blue skies made for a beautiful day at the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club green. The invitational attracted some high quality players from the Bay Area, making up some very strong mixed pairs teams. The level of bowling on display was a credit to the PIMD and to Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club, who hosted this new event on the calendar. There were some really close games and some very tight results. As you’d expect in a tournament with this many quality players, no one ran away with it and the final results came down to the last couple of bowls being rolled on the day. Taking first prize and drawing the tournament winning shot with his last bowl: Gareth Cole & Giulia Gallo A very creditable second place went to the very strong team of: Russell Leonard & Janice Bell (good luck to Janice in the upcoming Nationals!) And third place went to the extremely consistent pair of: Jim Corr & Annie Brillhart Many thanks to everyone that came from near and far to participate and to everyone at the club that helped make the day run so smoothly.
September is busy at the BLBC. We will be running competitions every Saturday in September, which means we will not have lessons on Saturdays. We will still have lessons available for Sunday and encourage you to come then to learn more about lawn bowling.
Howard Mackey—long-time BLBC
member, former BLBC president, former greens-keeper, former board-member, and
former Memorial & Endowment Fund Trustee—passed away on April 15,
2019. Howard crammed a lot of life into his 93 years: he enjoyed taking
it all in, and he could tell you hundreds of stories about sailing, RV living
in southern California, life in the Bay Area from his childhood to the present
day, and bowling. Life did not just happen to Howard – Howard went at
life with a remarkable combination of enthusiasm, stoicism, and old-fashioned
Bay Area lawn bowlers consider
Howard a Berkeley institution, but Howard considered himself an El Cerrito
product. One of those rarities of California — a native — Howard was
born to a family that lived in El Cerrito around B Street, near the current
Harding School. Howard remembered the days when the dog track (the site
of the El Cerrito Plaza) was the epicenter of El Cerrito, then the colorful and
corrupt town that escaped Alameda County DA Earl Warren’s reformist wrath by
sitting just over the Contra Costa County line.
He sometimes talked about the squalid trailers not far from his home,
where families who worked at the racetrack lived. Seeing this had a
profound effect on the young Howard. He was proud of his parents’ work as
supporters for what eventually became the El Cerrito Good Government League
that in 1946 successfully recalled the corrupt city government and replaced 3
council members with league candidates. He would say that there were many
reasons for them not to do what they did – but he felt they did the right
thing. Howard seemed to live his own life making choices inspired by his
Howard attended El Cerrito High
School and returned to teach there until his retirement. The halls
there have articles and photos of Howard serving his community. This
writer had the pleasure of coaching former students of Howard who came through
the BLBC gates years later. They would reminisce fondly about their time
Howard would want the story of
his life to include what a powerful combination he and his wife Barbara (also a
bowler and a BLBC member) were. They lived as though their good
fortune, robust health, and ability compelled them to serve their community
Howard and Barbara joined the
BLBC in 1993, and the couple bowled competitively for many years. The
BLBC’s winners’ board includes the Mackeys in all kinds of competitions.
They bowled regularly in PIMD tournaments and did the BLBC proud by bringing
back many victories over the years. And whether he bowled well or not on
a particular day, Howard never let the fever of competition overwhelm him: he
always started and finished a game with a handshake and sincere thanks for the
play regardless of the outcome.
Howard bowled for many years as
a lethal skip. In later years he preferred to bowl as an equally lethal
second. Toward the end of his bowling days, he left the heavy lifting to
others and shifted to bowling as lead. When he wasn’t working on the
green or in the clubhouse, he was practicing with 2 sets of bowls, but with neither mat
nor rink markers. He would bowl to a jack that he rolled anywhere on the
green. He then walked to the jack, rolled it out to another random spot
on the green and so on. During these practice sessions, Barbara might be
reading on the bench near the memorial plaque in her name.
When not bowling, Howard and
Barbara served the club in countless ways. Barbara served as board
secretary for several terms and Howard served two terms as BLBC president. Howard
and Barbara enjoyed running the Berkeley Jamboree for quite a few years.
They frequently were the first to come set up for events and draw games and
just as frequently the last to leave when putting things away. Howard
stepped up to serve as greenskeeper for several years, a thankless job that he
took on with grace and equanimity. A common sight would be Howard hunched
over a piece of machinery, confidently dismantling and reassembling it.
He might tell an observer about the first time he worked on a piece of
machinery like it — and how he completely messed it up. Ever the
teacher, Howard wanted us to know that failure followed by trying again was the
key to everything.
Barbara died in 2012, and that
took its toll on Howard. He did not dwell upon his loss in a public way,
but if he was comfortable with you, he would speak of his loneliness and how
strange it felt for him to wake up without Barbara there. He also
frequently spoke of the happiness and joy his family brought to him: he
knew himself to be lucky and was grateful.
And that is how we at the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club feel about Howard and Barbara. They gave so much time, labor, love, and goodwill to the BLBC and its members. A grateful BLBC community shall remember them fondly for what they cheerfully provided in so many ways. We offer our condolences to the Mackey family.
Note: A memorial service for Howard Mackey will be held at the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club on June 15, 2019.
The BLBC recently received news that former BLBC member George Goldman passed away in June of this year. George joined our club and bowled enthusiastically for quite a few years. Several years ago he started treatment for leukemia, and the treatment gave him valuable additional time,but took its toll on his physical strength. George himself likely would have admitted as much. He proudly honed a rational approach to life and offered an unblinking and unsentimental assessment of his state and prognosis. That sounds more serious than George was: his curiosity and sharp sense of irony made George a voluble and entertaining raconteur.
Outside of his lawn bowling life, George worked at the University of California in the Extension programs as an economist specializing in agriculture. He was one of the charter members of the BLBC’s poker group. Imagine George and several other economists at the poker table waxing eloquent on various economic issues of the day in technical detail. The non-economist at the table might think this distraction would help someone focused on the poker score. Alas, for that non-economist (like this writer), when George sat at the table he won more frequently than he lost when the night’s counting out was through.
Any conversation with George might cover economics, bowling,music, cooking, camping, travel, softball, or any other topic, really. He was a charming, forthright, funny, curious and sincere man. The BLBC offers its sympathies to the Goldman family.
If someone wanted to find Harry Gans in Berkeley, one only needed to try two places: The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club or the French Hotel’s coffee shop on Shattuck Avenue – you’d find him at one or the other before long. After not having seen Harry for several months, I recently decided to ask the staff of French Hotel if they had any news of him. They told me that Harry passed away around the 4th of July, with a memorial service at the French Hotel soon after.
Harry seemed to compartmentalize things: never did the different streams of his life cross over. Harry protected his privacy vigorously and most of us saw only what he allowed us to see of him. He confessed some years ago to being in his late 80s (which meant he likely passed away in his 90s); he worked as a graphic artist; and as an illustrator he had several books to his credit, including a little PDF pamphlet that he co-wrote and illustrated that shows his dark sense of humor: How to Survive Death ( http://wagele.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/book_how_to_survive_death.pdf ). Harry also penned strongly opinionated letters to the editors of Berkeley papers.
Harry projected a gruff, misanthropic image; but — when you knew him — you found the shy, mischievous man who could be very sweet. Harry showed his kindness with quickly, but skillfully, drawn cartoons given to people on a lark. He saw humor in many things, and the gruff mask often gave way to a wry grin—if he liked you. Harry also passionately disliked bullies, and felt no hesitation in barking at someone he felt crossed the line with poor sportsmanship or condescending behavior toward other people.
Harry came to bowling late in life, but he frequently bowled well above expectations. Having started the game in his eighties, he did not have the gift of many years to hone it, but he made the most of his game and inspired younger bowlers to at least try as hard as Harry had to. In bowling, Harry gave up the misanthropic act: he knew that any bowler worthy of the name works for the good of the team and his club. Harry never complained if he struggled to place his bowl where he wanted, and he never blamed others for his play.
In the clubhouse, Harry played in the monthly BLBC poker game, and everyone who knew Harry knew Harry’s game: Texas Hold ‘em, high-low. At the French Hotel coffee shop, the staff called him “Yo-yo,” because he liked to show off his yoyo tricks.
Last year, Frankie Napoli of Rossmoor Lawn Bowling Club, and also a dual member of Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club, reinstated the Rossmoor vs BLBC Challenge. We played two 14-end games. We were tied going into the afternoon. Three games were decided on the final bowl. Sadly for BLBC, all three bowls were delivered by Rossmoor teams giving them the trophy.
This year, BLBC once again entered four teams. Once again we would play two 14-end games. However, upon arrival at Rossmoor we learned they had eight teams. In the spirit of “good camaraderie and everybody bowls” we were happy to have two Rossmoor teams bowl for us.
Three all-BLBC teams won their morning games: Jim Corr, Cris Benton, and Bob Schwartz; Rob Hoey, Ray Francis and Jerry Knott and Frankie Napoli, Annie Brillhart and Erwin Vista. Team Ethan Bortman, Dave McMullen and Laile Giansetto were tied going into their last end. They lost the game by a fraction of an inch measurement.
So, the score was tied three to three.
BLBC continued to bowl well in the afternoon games. All four all-BLBC teams won handily giving us the victory!
Although none of the Rossmoor teams bowling for us won any of their games, we were very happy to have them on our side!
Congratulations to the bowlers who represented our club today!
On a beautiful August summer Saturday, forty bowlers from around the Bay participated in this year’s tournament; which was hosted by Berkeley, but played in Oakland. We’re proud that ten bowlers from Berkeley played on the greens – and especially pleased that a Berkeley team took First Place! Congratulations to Sarah, John, Cathy, and Cris.
Twelve bowlers waited to see who they would be bowling with (and against) in our club’s 2016 Triples Draw Tournament on July 16. It was a perfect round robin with the top two teams to play for the championship.
Des, Millard and Dave won all three of their games. (Excellent bowling you guys!) There was a very tough battle for second place between teams Erwin, Ray and Bob, Cathy, Phil and Ted, and Shawn, Ann and Luo. With a truly extraordinarily super bowl by Shawn at the last end of our third game, he moved his team into second place. Now his team had a tough assignment: Beat the team (Des, Millard and Dave) that had just beat his team by two points. Well, Shawn’s team was definitely up to the challenge. They won with points to spare. Congratulations to Shawn, Ann and Luo!
We promote the game of lawn bowling for the enjoyment of new and experienced players alike.