NATIONAL BOWLING DAY
On the second Saturday in August, National Bowling Day encourages everyone to set up the pins. Now go throw strikes!
While bowling style games likely existed in ancient civilizations, we probably owe the modern game of bowling to Germany. Kegels were used much like batons for protection or sport. Participants would place the kegels at the end of an alley. Each person then rolled a stone, attempting to knock down the kegels. It was believed that by knocking down the kegel, their sins would be forgiven.
Other lawn games such as bocce and petanque may also be precursors to bowling. One such bowling game was called ninepins. American literature first mentions ninepins in Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle.
Bowling, like many sports, attracted gamblers. As a result, the game came under the scrutiny of legislatures and city councils. In 1841, Connecticut passed a law prohibiting ninepin bowling alleys. Circumventing the law, alleys added one pin to the line-up. Very little about the game has changed since.
In 1905, the game introduced the first rubber compound bowling ball. Up until then, players threw wooden balls made of lignum vitae. However, this modern ball launched a whole new era of bowling.
During the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, bowling was featured as a demonstration sport. However, the game never returned to the Olympics again.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalBowlingDay
Gather a group of friends and family and go bowling together. Throughout the country, bowling alleys offer discounts and deals to celebrate the day. Whether you decide to go during the day or at night, bring several friends. It doesn’t matter how well you play either. The point is to have fun.
There are other ways to celebrate the day, too!
- Read up on bowling in Pin Action by Gianmarc Manzione or in Bowling Across America: 50 States in Rented Shoes by Mike Walsh.
- Take a bowling class to learn how to improve your skills.
- Teach someone how to bowl.
- Give a shout out to your favorite bowling alley.
- Watch the documentary A League of Ordinary Gentleman by Christopher Brown.
Use #NationalBowlingDay to post on social media and alert others.
NATIONAL BOWLING DAY HISTORY
The Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, Inc. sponsored the first National Bowling Day in association with the General Cigar Company and NBC-TV in 1956. Attracting millions of bowlers, the event raised money for the American Red Cross through hundreds of bowling tournaments in 48 states. On October 14, 1956, the televised Final Bowl Off on National Bowling Day in Macon County, Illinois featured bowling stars Bill Lilian and Anita Cantaline of Detroit.
The event never repeated, but National Bowling Day traditions have started once more. Continuing in the same spirit as the 1956 event, the modern era #NationalBowlingDay takes care of others while taking down those pins. One example was the Million Pin Challenge. Donations helped provide half a million meals to Feeding America to fight domestic hunger.
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