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Born with severe myopia, Lisa’s sight deteriorated at five years old and progressively became worse, due to a fall which left her blind in her right eye and macular degeneration in her left eye. Lisa can only see 4 meters in front of her and was also suffering from anxiety and depression.
She was introduced to bowls by her husband David, and after many years of convincing her to play, he is now her eyes on the green as her Director. Lisa said the nagging got to her, so she decided to give it a go. Whilst having a roll at Lake Boga Bowling Club, fellow member Tony suggested that Lisa may like to try Blind Bowls.
With encouragement from her husband and Tony, Lisa joined Blind Bowls Victoria and competed in the Victorian Blind Bowls Championship, which she won! Winning this event entitled her to play at the 2012 National Blind Bowls Championships in Brisbane, where she went on to win Gold in the B3 Ladies Singles and Silver in the B3 Mixed Pairs.
In 2013 after encouragement from another member of Blind Bowls Victoria, Lisa got her first guide dog, Vincent. Vincent gave Lisa confidence to get out and about on her own and was always waiting at the end of the green for her after her games. Vincent’s reassurance was immeasurable and after he retired she decided to get another guide dog, Zaphy. Zaphy and Lisa are still learning about each other, and now that covid-19 restrictions have eased, Lisa is hoping Zaphy will be able to settle into the bowls life as well as Vincent did.
David shares Lisa’s success as her director and Lisa views it as an equal partnership. David stands behind Lisa and explains to her the angle and distance from the mat to the jack. He then lets her know when she is lined up and when to let the bowl go. Lisa says “every wrong bowl is David’s fault and every good bowl is hers!”
Before venturing onto the bowling green, Lisa had never played sport or won medals. She felt as though sport of any kind was not for her due to her lack of eyesight and self-confidence. She is now a very skilled and talented bowler, and has continued to win medals at the 9 State and 7 National Championships she has participated in.
For Lisa, the rewards go well beyond the trophies and medals. “It’s been life changing for me. Once I was a recluse, now I can’t wait to get out on the green and meet new people,” she says.
Goal setting is now a part of Lisa’s life, and she is continually setting the bar higher. Her first goal was to be selected for the Australian team playing New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman at Port Macquarie last year, and she was successful in earning a spot. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, but Lisa’s goals continue to soar. She is now looking to play in the Commonwealth Games this year and hopes to represent Australia in the World Games being held in Australia in 2023.
If you have ever thought about playing lawn bowls, Blind Bowls Victoria would love to have a chat to you and welcome you to their club. For further information, contact Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria on 9822 8876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Images supplied by Blind Bowls Victoria.
Image descriptions: Left to right, top row then second row: