Each year league bowlers across the United States recognize U.S. Bowling League Day on September 3rd.
Primarily an outdoor sport until around 1840, bowling was called the game of ninepins and popular with gamblers. To snuff out the gambling, the state of Connecticut banned the game in 1841 which led the newly indoor lane owners to add one pin to their alleys to circumvent the law.
Clubs tried organizing and creating set rules, but it wasn’t until 1895 when the American Bowling Congress came together at Beethoven Hall in New York City. The American Bowling Congress established a maximum score of 300 which still stands today. Other rules, such as lane length, widths, and distances between pins were also determined.
Today, leagues of men, women and mixed teams of all ages play in bowling competitions around the world. Weekly league bowling is a great social outing as well as great physical activity.
- According to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, a British anthropologist discovered in the 1930s evidence of bowling items in an Egyptian grave. Evidence suggests that bowling dates back as far as 3200 BC – around the same time that some of the first forms of the written word were discovered on cuneiform tablets. It’s that old!
- Modern bowling is only a few thousand years younger: indoor bowling lanes made their debut in 1840 in New York City. The first televised games appeared in 1950.
- During the early 1900s, bowling balls were actually made of wood and later, a heavy rubber. Around 1960, bowling ball manufacturers used polyester resin for the first time, enabling the production of plastic balls with bright, swirled colors.
- The American Bowling Congress was a gentleman’s club (no ladies allowed!) and it wasn’t until 1917 that women got their own governing body, the Women’s National Bowling Association.
- Japan is home to the largest bowling alley in the world: the Inazawa Grand Bowling Centre has 116 lanes!
- Las Vegas is home to the second largest bowling alley – and right next to them in Reno lies an actual bowling stadium.
- When you bowl an optimal strike, the ball itself only hits four pins. A right handed bowler’s ball actually connects with the 1, 3, 5, and 9 pins (sometimes the 8 pin) – and a left hander’s ball will contact the 1, 2, 5, and 8 (or 9) pin.
- Theoretically, if you bowled a 300, you’d only hit 48 pins. Think about it.