Carah Webster put a golden spin on her last two tournaments as a juniors lawn bowler. The 18-year-old Saanich resident, in her last year of U-19 eligibility, got on a roll with a gold medal victory at the juniors provincial championships in Sidney in July. She followed that up with another gold-medal performance at the Canadian juniors national lawn bowling championship, which took place Aug. 2 to 4 in North Vancouver.
“Winning the provincials gave me the confidence that I had a shot at the nationals, especially because it was my last year for the U-19s,” Webster said.
Webster has been competing in lawn bowling for seven years, ever since she became intrigued watching people play at Burnside Clubhouse after her karate lessons.
“I already liked bowling and thought it might be fun to try,” she recalled. “A lot of people think it’s a sport for older people, but that’s not the case. I see more young people competing at the Sidney Lawn Bowling Club, especially since they started a junior program this year.”
Lawn bowling is definitely more difficult than it appears to be, in part because the balls have a bias that causes them to curve, she explained.
“Learning the right weight [to play] and reading the greens is also challenging because they can all be different,” added Webster, a member of Lake Hill Lawn Bowling Club and an associate member of the Burnside Lawn Bowling Club.
Webster believes her background in dance, which includes jazz, lyrical, contemporary and ballet, coupled with her years of karate and tae kwon do, have benefited her lawn bowling.
“The discipline, balance and self-confidence you develop definitely helps,” she said. “Karate teaches emotional control over your body, so that all plays a part.”
Webster said music has helped her prepare for competitions as well. She has played flute since Grade 6 and comes from a musical family, to say the least.
Both her parents play piano, her mom’s mother was a singer, her dad’s parents both taught music and all of her aunts and uncles are musicians.
“Music has been a huge influence in my life and I use it to prepare for lawn bowling competitions,” she said. “It gets your mind and body to relax.”
Webster also credited her coach, Craig Wilson, for his assistance.
“He’s been a tremendous help,” she said. “He’s coached me since I started and has been a huge influence, always there to support me. He’s coached a lot of players that have gone on to win nationals.”
Next up for the Reynolds secondary graduate in her second year at the University of Victoria are mathematics, economics and statistics courses required for a degree in actuarial science. Corporations and insurance companies utilize those subjects to collect data to predict future statistics and trends.
“It would be interesting to see a lawn bowling program at UVic,” said Webster, who has at least another four years there before she plans to complete her studies at Simon Fraser University. “It would be really neat to get some fellow students interested in September.”
Next year will be her first competing in the U-25 category. “I’m definitely looking forward to that,” she added.