Star bowls columnist Jim Brigginshaw
Star bowls columnist Jim Brigginshaw

One-man pennants protest

Thirty-plus seasons of pennants, broken only by the one year I wouldn't be part of team-stacking. Now I'm refusing to play again.

So what? I hear you saying. Nobody will miss you.

True! One-man protests don't get much attention.

Again, it's a matter of principle. Last time I bailed up it was over top bowlers being selected in the lowest grade side, now it's because my club wants me to play in a shirt (no charge, but conditions attached) bearing that Bowls Australia logo I've been objecting to for years.

I've always enjoyed the concept of pennants, representing my club, being part of an intra-district comp.

So why am I giving up something I like over such a small point, you ask?

I don't regard it a small point. Rather, it's a big principle.

I find it difficult to fathom why Australians, who were always supposed to have inherited a bit of rebel in their genes, are becoming cattle who follow one another blindly when they're told to do so.

The bowling multitude has accepted Bowls Australia telling us what clothes we must wear -? everything from shirts to socks -? even the brand we must display on each of the clothing items we are forced to buy.

What if our Prime Minister did the same? What if he told us the Government would allow us to buy only clothing it told us to and that every item must carry the Government logo?

We'd be up in arms, wouldn't we? Or I should hope we would be.

Is that any different from what Bowls Australia has done to us?

It has taken away our freedom of choice, which I always thought was an important facet of democracy that all Australians cherished.

It has also restricted trade, forcing out of business small manufacturers who can't afford the hefty licensing fee Bowls Australia demands if their logo is used.

And eliminating this competition is playing into the hands of the rich and powerful clothing makers. If Bowls Australia is so desperately in need of money, I'd be prepared to pay a levy.

But I won't be railroaded into gear I object to.

A club official told me my refusal to wear the logo was small-minded.

I think it's more the opposite.

But if standing by a principle is being small-minded, then I'm small-minded.

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