Jim Cavender began lawn bowling 21 years ago in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when a relative and a mutual friend invited Jim to the green to play a game. He took to the game quickly and soon was traveling near and far plying his skills in competitions. Thousands of bowls later Jim won his first U.S. national title in 1990 as pairs champion with partner Ken Degenhardt. One national title could not contain Jim’s skill as he won the U.S. singles crown in 1997. During the last few years, Jim has devoted his time and talent in tutoring his son, Max, in the game of bowls and playing together as father-son in competitions.
Max picked up his first bowl five years ago at age 13 and began bowling in tournaments with his dad the following year. Like his father, the younger Cavender possesses a deep passion and respect for the game. A bit surprisingly, Max loves hanging with the old guys, discussing the nuances of the game, shot selection, quality of greens, pros and cons of various bowls, and participating in that great lawn bowling tradition of complaining about anything and everything!
This year Max has begun to see the results he’s long desired, winning his first title at the 2010 Central Open singles event. Max had a look about him at the tournament that said, “I mean business”. He was in command not only of line, weight and shot selection, but in maintaining his focus and concentration throughout the event. On his way to winning the singles title, Max defeated four strong competitors that included current and former U.S. pairs champions, reigning U.S. singles champion and an accomplished Aussie transplant. Max’s competitors would have preferred to have been on the other end of the score, but all were pleased to see “young Max” win his first championship.
This success is not only the product of Max’s own considerable talent and effort, but the result of the love and respect for the game he learned from his father. And where was Jim at the moment Max finished up his last game to seal the title? Jim was two rinks away, getting into his stance and readying to roll a bowl. Such is the respect for the game of lawn bowling that every bowl in every game matters, and proud parental moments and celebrations can wait until the last bowl comes to rest.