More than 67 million people in the United States search for a bowling alley near me to knock down pins each year. 1.3 million of those compete regularly in a league certified by the United States Bowling Congress.
As bowling soars into the upper echelon of sports, modern facilities give few clues as to its origin. Here’s an overlook of bowling through the ages and how we have come to the modern game we play today.
Bowling can be traced back to the beginning of civilization. The earliest evidence of the sport dates has been found in Egyptian tombs buried in 3200 B.C.
Although it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way from rolling balls of porcelain and leather through marble arches, we’ve kept some traditions alive after 5000 years.
Ancient findings reveal that the Polynesian game of ula maika involved rolling balls of stone at targets 60 feet away - which is one of the most basic modern-day regulations of tenpins.
Other historians credit the tradition of “pins” to religious rituals, rather than sport. As early as 400 A.D. ancient Germans were known to practice a ceremony of cleansing by toppling kegels (heathens) with stones.
King Edward the III made the first official mention of bowling in 1366, when he banned the sport due to its distraction from archery practice.
From here bowling evolved. The first bowling green was invented (it still works to this day) and surfaces were formed from cinders and baked clay. Less than 100 years later London saw its first roof-over all-weather bowling lane in 1455.
Martin Luther is credited with modernizing the rules and creating the ideal number of pins. He even constructed an alley of his own for his children to use. During the same period, it is well known that King Henry VIII fell in love with the sport. He even decided to make it an exclusive activity for the rich by reserving the sport for royalty.
Bowling came to America for the first time in 1819. By 1840, the first bowling alley near me was built in New York City where it roared in popularity.
The ten-pin variation we know today followed a Connecticut ruling that banned gambling on nine-pin bowling. Ten-pin bowling soon became the state-wide standard.
The first bowling manual was written in 1864 and revised in 1895 to the rules we know and use today.
Today, the sport of bowling attracts people from all walks of life. Deluxe bowling alleys, like Fulton Alley, have become a unique spot for business meetings, get-togethers, and even large events. Make a reservation at the best bowling alley near me, today.