Sometimes an interest in sport is a choice, and other times there’s a natural inclination because it is a legacy you are born into. Such is the case for Jonathan and Michael Pituley, who grew up at the Regina Lawn Bowling Club where their parents have been members since the late 80s.
The Pituley family has become well-known in lawn bowling since their father, Murray Pituley, first found an interest in the sport when driving past the lawn bowling club on the way to university. Murray sought to explore the sport once in retirement but was introduced at a much earlier age because his wife, Harriette Pituley, had a connection in the club. The couple joined later that year and at first would take turns staying home with their young children. Soon enough, though, the kids began attending the club with their parents.
“I would play on the practice green in Regina when I was about six or seven years old and officially became a club member when I was ten,” said Michael.
And Jonathan recalls being “an infant” when he first attended the club, quite literally growing up around lawn bowling.
The brothers began the sport out of some form of “necessity” after spending hours at the club, but both are grateful for being brought into the sport because it has allowed them to experience special moments with each other and their parents.
“I don’t think you will find another sport like lawn bowling. It is such a family-oriented sport,” said Jonathan. “I have been fortunate enough to play at nationals with my dad, mom and brother and have won nationals at separate times with each of them. It’s pretty special to be able to say you have done that with all of your family members.”
And while winning nationals and other events now seems to be somewhat of a normal occurrence for the family, it wasn’t always the case. In the early years, when Jonathan and Michael first joined their dad in tournaments, Murray would place their development and family time above all else, even wins.
“Our dad would take us into provincial tournaments when he had better options,” said Jonathan.
Murray has continued to invite developing young players to join his team at tournaments even after the brothers have grown up. His patience and ability to teach is one of the reasons Michael and Jonathan consider their father a major idol in lawn bowling and life.
Their dad was able to guide the brothers during tournaments and help grow their skills, leading to their large collection of wins later in life.
In their most recent achievement, the family attended the 2023 Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships in Victoria and brought home gold. Harriette placed first in her women’s fours match against Manitoba and father-son duo — Jonathan and Murray — mirrored Harriette’s success by taking home gold in their men’s fours match against Alberta.
Now, over 30 years since the Pituleys were first introduced to the sport, Michael and Jonathan have picked up the legacy their dad has provided. The two offer the same support to young bowlers, with the hope of their own kids joining the club one day. What started as a passing interest has turned into a family legacy and dream to expand the sport for upcoming generations.