Col Griffin, a member of the Jindalee Men’s Shed had heard about gateball. He thought it was a game that could be added to the range of activities available to men’s shed members. Two members of the shed came last week to look at and learn the game from gateball’s long standing enthusiasts at the McIlwraith club. They trialed their shed-made sticks – pvc conduit handles fixed to pvc pipe heads filled with concrete and then stopped/fitted with timber plugs.
The appeal of Gateball for them was firstly, as a team game that would involve ten plus members; secondly, the court size could be fitted on space available to them; thirdly, it appeared to be a low intensity outdoor activity, and fourthly, they thought they could make their own sticks.
Queensland State Director, Bruce McAllister, took a break from the mountain of work he’s tackling at the moment and made a special trip to meet with them and hand out information sheets and a video on how to play the game. McIlwaith loaned them a set of balls and string lines to mark out a court.
On Tuesday, those two returned with another eight men to experience the game. One of the eight was actually from the Oxley Bowls Club and interested in seeing if gateball could work on one of their lawns no longer needed for bowls.
The Maccas concluded that they all enjoyed the afternoon which consisted of learning some basic skills and then playing two games with bibs – everyone came on, whether through gate 1 or not!
Philip Rowland hopes to get over to their shed one day (Monday, Tuesday or Thursday) next week to further their skill.
The link to the Jindalee Men’s Shed website carries an interesting video on making gateball mallets and another entitled ‘Gateball for Mugs’ which is a newcomer’s take on the game!