Besides being superhero educators, our teachers are wonderful people, each with their own passions and pursuits outside of teaching.
We love to hear about the cool stuff our teachers do outside of school, about their personal achievements and accomplishments—and we sometimes find out after the fact!
Well, someone ring the VHS bell, because we heard through the grapevine that VHS math teacher Lorraine Mlot was not only a lawn bowler, but a seriously skilled one at that. In fact, we heard that Mrs. Mlot and her mother competed at the 2019 Canadian Championships after winning silver at the Provincial Championships!
Before you could say online learning we were reaching out to Mrs. Mlot to learn more.
How long have you been lawn bowling?
I’ve been lawn bowling for about 7 years. Originally my dad asked my sister and I to bowl with him in a Trebles League (3 bowlers per team) at our local club, and we loved the idea of doing something competitive and fun with him. My mom worked late but she subbed in when she could, so it was a fun thing we could do together as a family.
That’s so lovely. Have your parents always been lawn bowlers?
My parents have been lawn bowling my entire life—my parents actually met at the lawn bowling club—so I grew up watching them compete in the sport. Both of them have competed nationally.
And so how long have you been bowling competitively?
I’ve been bowling competitively for about the last five years. When my parents needed an extra bowler for a tournament I would play with them if I was available. Over the last few years my husband (Kevin Mlot, also a VHS teacher) has also enjoyed learning the game. We’ve played in a couple tournaments together at our local club.
In other sports I have, but I’ve only competed at the provincial level for lawn bowling once, in 2015, when my sister and I competed in the Novice Pairs (novice is less than 5 years experience bowling). Novices have always been a trebles tournament, but for some reason just that year it switched to pairs, so my sister and I decided to give it a try. We ended up winning the Districts and then went on to win Gold at the Novice Provincial Championships!
So were the Canadian Championships your first time competing at the national level?
Yes! It’s not only tough to make it to the Canadians, but it’s a big commitment. You have to first play one weekend for Districts, and then if you win you play another weekend, likely farther away, for Provincials. If you move on to the Canadians it’s a week-long event—and it could be anywhere in Canada. In 2019 everything just worked out perfectly. I noticed that the Canadians were being held locally, so I asked my mom if she wanted to give it a try together and we made it!
What was it like competing at the national level?
Since it was my first time competing at this level, I was very nervous to play against such experienced bowlers, but I was so pleasantly surprised how welcoming and encouraging the lawn bowling community is while still being competitive and challenging. In my experience, lawn bowlers are always willing to coach and give pointers to encourage new bowlers because they are so proud of their sport and love to see it keep growing. It’s such an inclusive sport that anyone can play, but there are so many variables: bowls vary in size, weight, and bias; green speeds vary; the size of draws on each individual green varies. All the variables make it a challenge to try to master!
How long have you and your mom been a bowling team?
Over the last few years I’ve played in some mixed fours or trebles tournaments with my parents, but my mom and I had never actually bowled together competitively as a women’s pairs team before signing up to compete in the Districts this year. When I was growing up I competed in other sports at a high level and watched my mom compete in Bowls at the International level on Team Canada. We’ve always talked about how great it would be to hopefully someday compete together. We finally got our chance in the summer of 2019.
What will you remember most about the Canadian Championships?
What I will remember most is sharing the experience with my family. After watching my parents compete at such a high level for so many years, it was really cool to join in and be a part of their world. Having my dad and sister there cheering us on, and my husband and 2-year-old son there as well, was really special. This sport has always been something that brought our family together, and this event was no exception. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to join in the fun too!
Was there a lawn bowling season this year, or was it cancelled due to COVID?
There wasn’t really a season this year. Leagues and tournaments, which many clubs rely on, were cancelled. It’s been very hard for many small clubs to stay open. Some have done fundraisers to try to keep from closing and some sadly had to close permanently. The greens still need to be maintained which are a lot of work and can be costly. At my local club we were fortunate to have volunteers offer their time and energy spending countless hours every week working on the greens. Our club graciously had many bowlers pay their membership fees to help keep the doors open not knowing if they would even be able to throw one bowl this season.
Were you yourself able to play at all?
I personally decided not play at all, but a handful of members were able to get out and bowl recreationally in the last few weeks of the season (with many restrictions and very strict safety protocols in place). On the positive side of things, our greens will be better than ever next season, and we will appreciate our time together on the greens more than ever.
Mrs. Mlot has enjoyed teaching in many different environments and working with learners of all ages and levels. She is passionate about helping students succeed and maximize their potential. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys sports, puzzles and trivia, and hanging out with my 2-year-old son.