One of the things that I love about living in the Boston area is candlepin bowling. Imagine that they took ten pin bowling and made it challenging and you’d have candlepin bowling. I kid. There are some interesting differences between the two, but I’m not going to get into that now. One of the things that I love about bowling is that it’s a social sport. Bowling is like golf where you aren’t really playing against other people. There’s no defense. You’re playing against yourself as is everyone else. Whoever performs the best is the one who will win.
The great thing about bowling is that everyone roots for everyone else no matter what team you are on. If someone on the opposing team makes a great shot then you congratulate them on it and then you try and make one of your own. Tonight’s final game saw us up by a few pins when I got up to bowl my final frames. The guy that I was bowling against had been whining all night as our team destroyed his. Things were close until the 9th frame when I put a 5 box which allowed the other team to pull into the lead by 2 pins. The joker on the other team made the mistake of me catching him celebrating my bad box. That was it, there’s no way that this douchebag was winning the string.
He threw first and put the ball right in the pocket and dropped 9 pins leaving an easy spare leave. My first ball caught the 3 pin right in the middle and chopped straight through getting only 2 pins (called a Half Worcester). That’s one of the major difference between candlepin and ten pin bowling. You can put the ball in the middle of the pins and end up with only 1 or two of them. Try doing that with a gigantic ball and fat pins.
DB converts his spare all but sealing the game for his team. I step up, still steaming a little bit and throw the perfect shot. It looks a little something like this: (Ignore the fact that the bowler in this video throws a gutter ball on their first shot)
That shot drew cheers from my team and some people on neighboring lanes who were watching. So, the whole string now came down to one bonus ball for each of us with the other team up by 2 pins. He filled his spare with 6 pins which put me in a tough spot especially since I wasn’t having much luck with my first balls in that final string. I stepped up and got a huge 9 pin drop to take the string by a pin. That got an even bigger cheer. Walk-off spare!
Here’s a couple of fun candlepin videos to further demonstrate some of the differences between the two types of bowling:
Things will definitely bounce around the alley.
Fallen pins, or wood, are not cleared from the alley between throws. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Since the pins are flat on the top and bottom, it's possible that something like this could happen, but it's extremely rare.
Pins that roll over to knock another pin down are called messengers. Sometimes that'll allow you to make great shots.
Sometimes you'll even get some ridiculous shots like this. Again, this is pretty rare. If any of you ever come to Boston for a Fenway trip or something like that and want to check out candlepin bowling, let me know and a string or two will be on me. (Fun Fact: There used to be a candlepin bowling alley under Fenway Park. It closed around 2004 and wood from the lanes was used for the bar up on the Right Field Patio behind the roof deck tables.)