National Bowling Day

Next Saturday, 10 August 2024

The second Saturday in August is National Bowling Day, a holiday to commemorate one of America's classic sports. People of all ages can play it, as well as people with disabilities.

So it's no wonder that over 100 million people worldwide love the game. The purpose of this day is to get more people interested in the sport.

Background of National Bowling Day

In 1956 the Bowling Owners' Association of America organized the first National Bowling Day.
Millions of bowlers got together, in hundreds of tournaments across 48 states, and helped raise money for the American Red Cross.

bowling alley

The final of the National Bowling Day tournament was televised and counted with the presence of famous bowlers. 

Even though this was a one-off event, the interest that the first National Bowling Day gathered was so big that people kept celebrating the day. The day is still tied to charity, and events such as the Million Pin Challenge have been held on National Bowling Day. 

History of Bowling

Bowling derives from centuries-old sports as wall drawings and artifacts of a game with pins and balls have been found in tombs and excavations that date back to 5200 BC.

In Roman times, there was a game that consisted of throwing stone objects as close as possible to other objects, which evolved into what we now know as Bocce. 

The modern game of Bowling as we know it probably derives from a German game called Kegels. Players would roll stones trying to knock down the Kegels at the end of an alley, and believed that if they knocked the Kegels down their sins would be forgiven. 

Bowling was first played with nine pins, but laws were made against nine-pin bowling because of gambling, so people added one more pin to the game to bend the rules, in 1841. 

The game has remained with ten pins ever since. Bowling used to be played with wooden balls but in 1905 the rubber compound bowling balls that we know today were first introduced. 

Different Ways to Play

National Bowling Day is a chance to pop down to your local bowling alley and play a few games, but did you know there are other fantastic ways of playing? Here are a few of them from across the globe:

  1. 10-Pin Bowling: This is the most common form of bowling played worldwide. It involves rolling a ball down a lane to knock down ten pins arranged in a triangle at the end. The objective is to knock down as many pins as possible in each frame, aiming for a maximum score of 300.

  2. 9-Pin Bowling: Also known as "Kegeln" in German. This game can be found throughout Europe and the US. The rules and scoring are similar to 10-pin bowling however, there are nine pins, and these are arranged in a diamond shape with a single pin placed in the center.

  3. Skittles: Skittles, sometimes called "Ninepins," is an English pub game that predates standard 10-pin and 9-pin bowling. It involves knocking down nine wooden pins using a wooden ball. Skittles can be played both indoors and outdoors and has variations like "Devil Amongst the Tailors" and "Long Alley."

  4. Candlepin Bowling: Popular in the New England region of the United States and Canada, candlepin bowling uses thinner pins and smaller balls compared to 10-pin bowling. The pins are cylindrical and resemble candles, which is how this variation got its name. Players have three rolls per frame, and the fallen pins are not cleared between rolls.

  5. Duckpin Bowling: Another variation found primarily in the United States, duckpin bowling features shorter and squatter pins and a smaller ball. The pins are arranged in a triangle shape, and players get three rolls per frame. The ball used in duckpin bowling is handheld, making it a unique challenge.

  6. Five-Pin Bowling: Predominantly played in Canada, five-pin bowling involves using a smaller ball with no finger holes and five pins arranged in a V-shaped formation. The pins are thinner and lighter, requiring even more precision to knock them down.

This National Bowling Day why not try to seek out one of these different ways of playing, give it a go and have some fun? 

What to do on National Bowling Day

Many bowling alleys offer free games on National Bowling Day, so it's the perfect opportunity to try and get some strikes with your friends. If you are a real bowling aficionado, get a team together, and participate in a tournament near you. 

If you have a knack and knowledge for bowling, you can share your wisdom by spreading the knowledge. This will encourage more people to get interested in bowling. 

National Bowling Day
National Bowling Day

National Bowling Day 2023

Date: Saturday, 09 August 2025

Date: Saturday, 08 August 2026

Date: Saturday, 14 August 2027

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