Sunday, October 11, 2009

Real bowling


There’s many things to love about living in Massachusetts.  Even with the early exit of the Red Sox in this year’s playoffs, we’re still got 3 Super Bowl trophies, 2 World Series trophies and 1 NBA Championship Trophy this decade (and are the early favorite for the 2009-10 Championship if everyone stays healthy).  I’m going to stray from the more mainstream sports in this post on focus on a regional sport that most of you probably have never seen before and that is Candlepin bowling.

600px-Candlepin-bowling-usa-lane25-rs Candlepin bowling is a variation of bowling that is played primarily in the Canadian Maritime provinces, Maine, Massachusetts and in New Hampshire.  As you can see from the picture to the left, the ball is a lot smaller to the one used in ten pin bowling.  Candlepin balls have a diameter of 4½” and don’t need holes since you can easily hold one in your hand.  A frame in candlepin bowling consists of three balls instead of the two that are used in ten pin.  Another big difference is that downed pins (referred to as “wood”) are not cleared off of the alley between shots as they are in ten pin.  This can be both a good and bad thing.  Sometimes a piece of wood can assist you in making a difficult shot or can make an easy shot even easier by increasing your target, but they can also act as a road block shooting off in one direction while the ball flies off in other leaving the pin still standing.

Candlepin bowling is a lot more challenging than ten pin bowling.  While perfect games in ten pin bowling are frequent it has never been done in candlepin bowling.  The highest sanctioned score in a candlepin string is 245.  Throw a ball right down the middle of the lane in candlepin bowling and you’re very likely only going to take out the middle two pins.  Throw that same ball so that it hits between the head pins and a neighboring pin and you’re likely to get a good pinfall.  It can be frustrating, but the added challenge brings added fun.

I’ve been bowling since I was a kid and in bowling leagues almost as long.  Now that I’ve been doing it all of my life, I wouldn’t ever want to live somewhere that doesn’t have candlepin bowling.  If this has caught your attention and you’d like to find out a little more about candlepin bowling you can check out this link to the International Candlepin Bowling Association or check out this YouTube video of one of the best televised performances ever.  There are a ton of YouTube video out there of candlepin bowling from nearly impossible shots to breaking pins.

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Mark said...

I got to bowl some candlepins in Maine about 14 years ago. Fun. Thanks for stepping off the beaten path and sharing that.

beardy said...

Cool! We have duckpin here, which is basically just miniature bowling, but is also quite difficult. Candlepin looks like it's even harder.

Offy said...

I've always wanted to try duckpin, 5 pin and whatever other bowling variations there are out there.

Candlepin can be rough at times, but when you pull off a tough shot you forget all of the bad shots. It's such a great social sport and seeing everyone else in the league every week is just as fun as the game itself.

ryanmemorabilia said...

Candlepin is AWESOME. I play when ever I go to Mass

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