Kids sometimes need encouragement and an age-appropriate role model to get them interested in playing sports.
Lisa Bowes has found the perfect ambassador for the job.
Her name is Lucy and she is the central figure in a series of Lucy Tries Sports children’s books Bowes has written over the past five years to try to get kids more physically active.
Bowes is well known to Canadian television viewers as a sports journalist and former TSN/CBC/The Score/CTV sports desk anchor, reporter, play-by-play announcer and producer. She was in Prince George over the weekend on stage at the Rogers Hometown Hockey festival at the CN Centre parking lot, where she kept with the hockey theme, reading a book she authored, Lucy Tries Hockey.
Hockey is just one of the sports Lucy has tried. Bowes has also gotten her involved in basketball, soccer, luge and short track speedskating, with baseball to be added to her list for 2023. Appealingly illustrated by James Hearne of Calgary, the books are geared toward younger children and are available in several languages through Victoria-based Orca Book Publishers.
Before she got into broadcasting, Bowes graduated from the University of Western Ontario in London with a degree in physical education. The Guelph, Ont. native was covering women’s hockey at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when the inspiration for the book series came to her.
“My young daughter was two at the time and I was looking for books to read to her that were about different types of sport and I couldn’t find anything in the marketplace,” said Bowes. “It took me seven years, 14 rejections on my very first book, but I’m pleased to tell you we’ll come out with Book 6, Lucy Tries Baseball, next spring.
“She is the multi-sport champion and she is for all kids. Boys and girls love her, she’s for all kids. There are almost 200 sports in the world that we can try.”
Bowes has seen enough reports about the rise in childhood obesity and a growing number of kids who are physically inactive to know there’s work to be done to change lifestyle trends. Getting as many kids as possible involved in sports as lifetime activities is one way to combat what’s become an alarming worldwide problem.
“It breaks my heart that our little ones are just not moving like they should be,” Bowes said. “When I see a study out of the U.K. that sedentary behaviour is starting in children at age 7, and that was before COVID, I feel like we can do something. I see the series and the way kids and parents and educators have responded to the books and it’s wonderful because I really feel we’re making a difference in that regard.”
Bowes lives in Calgary and has used her television production skills to create a virtual speaking tour that allows her to visit schools all over the country without having to travel. Her TV show most recently came to a school in a remote village in Labrador.
“All Lucy books reinforce these accepted principles of healthy child development, what we know our kids need to stay in sport,” she said. “They are to play, participate, make a friend, master a skill and in an encouraging adult relationship, that being the coach.
“It’s inclusive and diverse. They are for all kids, but a lot people think it’s just for girls because it’s a female lead. But kids don’t see that, they just see a little kid.”
The Lucy Tries Sports series is available locally at Books & Company, 1685 Third Ave., or visit www.lucytriesports.com.
The Hometown Hockey festival wraps up today from 3-7 p.m. with a live broadcast on Sportsnet featuring Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean and Sportsnet broadcaster Tara Slone.