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Network event brings newcomers to sport

Melissa Jacobson, left, participates in a lawn bowling event as trainer Bill Cochrane, middle, gives her tips during a Network event Tuesday at the bowling green in Mitchell. Also pictured is Sally Merkwan, back. (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

Every month, young professionals in the Mitchell area join together for an event through The Network.

Tuesday, The Network met at the state's only bowling green for its July event.

"I think it's a fun game now that we're learning how to do it and what it involves," program coordinator Rebecca Zabel said. "It's easy and a relaxing Saturday game you can play with your friends."

There were 20 members of The Network learning and participating in lawn bowling. With them, eight trainers -- who lawn bowl regularly in Mitchell -- demonstrated and watched during the session.

The lawn bowling green opened in 2011 after an 18-year vacancy in Mitchell. The bowling green used to be located at Hitchcock Park. The renewed green is located at Lakeview Golf Course and the Lawn Bowling Association pays $3,500 per year to have its green maintained by the course.

Rod Titze, league founder, said the number of competitors has increased each year the green has been open. In its opening year, the green's used count was 1,353 and the count improved to 1,642 in 2012.

"This year we're well ahead of last year's pace," Titze said. "The idea of the sport is spreading by word of mouth. People come out and like it, then tell their friends about it and so on."

Titze said between 100 and 150 people come every week to lawn bowl during the season, which runs from early April to November weather permitting. Titze added he's seen people ages 1 through 80 on the green this summer.

"It's a very simple game but takes a lifetime to master," he said.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.