Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Historical Brief on Bowling

“I don’t see pins, I see particles waiting to explode”
- Albert Einstein

A 300 game is as coveted a prize as Lord Stanley’s Cup, and yet these perfect games go unnoticed almost everyday in bowling. Twelve perfectly placed balls thrown in any number of different lane conditions; a bowler has 3 minutes of practice to find the perfect throw and placement. The game was once played over any number of frames, and it wasn’t until September 9, 1895 that the game of bowling was standardized to ten frames by the newly formed American Bowling Association. It is widely believed that Leo Bentley Lorain of Rome, Ohio bowled the first perfect game on March 26, 1908, beating Flinders Petrie, four-time American champion, in head to head play. The honors had previously been thought to belong to Ernest Fosberg of East Rockford, Illinois, who first achieved the feat in 1894, however this was later ruled invalid by the ABA (although still viewed by professionals as the first). It was indeed the highest score of the time, but the score was most likely the result of 15 frames, which was standard for Illinois at the time. Each of these achievements may be a matter of record, as recent evidence of ten-pin bowling has been discovered in Germany, dating as far back as 300 A.D. William Pehle, a German archeologist, unearthed a monastery containing wooden pin shaped carvings, small six pound stones and ledgers containing notes about these purity rituals. The game determined the absence of sin for the converted; the more pins falling, the more faithful. And while there were no clear scores kept by the monks, Fosberg, a German immigrant no less, may one day have his place in history ‘striked’ from the record books.

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