Gutters and Strikes: A Brief History of Bowling

Bowling is one of the most popular activities in the world. In fact, some families even book lanes for a bowling alley kids’ party to celebrate their little ones’ birthdays. But, did you know that the sport goes way back in history?Continue reading to learn more.

It Started in Ancient Egypt

In the 1930s, British anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie discovered primitive bowling items in an Egyptian child’s grave. According to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, this evidence suggests that the game dates back to 3200 B.C.

Since then, several more anthropologists have discovered artworks and hieroglyphics depicting a sport that’s remarkably similar to the bowling people know today. Professor Edda Bresciani from the University of Pisa even uncovered an ancient hall 90 miles south of Cairo that looks like the very first indoor alley.

Germany Has Its Own Version

German historian William Pehle claimed that the game traces its ancestry to Germany. But, it wasn’t a recreational activity back then. It was more of a religious ceremony and became a test of faith in many of their churches.

Back in 300 A.D., most Germans carried “Kegels,” wooden rods used for protection. Parishioners would set up their “pin” as a target and then roll a stone to knock it down. If they succeed, they’re then deemed free from their sins. Now, they no longer play the game for religious reasons, but it’s still known as Kegeling in many parts of Europe.

Arrival in America

British, Dutch, and German settlers brought bowling to America. The earliest known evidence was in 1670 when depictions of Dutchmen playing the sport were discovered. By the late 1900s, endless variations of the game were recorded because of foreign influences in the country. To form leagues, a universal set of rules needed to be imposed.

To do that,Joe Thum gathered representatives of the various regions and developed a unified standard with the United Bowling Clubs in New York. After that, in 1895, the American Bowling Congress was formed.

The Rise of the 20th Century and the Modern Times

The 20th century saw bowling’s greatest rise in popularity. Beer companies began to sponsor both semi- and pro teams to promote their marque through the sport. In the 1950s, the game had its very first broadcast and eight years later, the Professional Bowlers Association was founded.

For many presidents, bowling has always been a popular leisure activity. In fact, in 1948, lanes were built in the west wing of the White House for the then leader, Harry Truman. President Richard Nixon, an avid bowler, also had one constructed beneath the building’s North Portico.

Today, millions of people around the globe play bowling. From professional leagues to your child’s birthday party, the sport offers just the right amount of leisure and thrill for you and your family.

Ready to take on a ten-pin game? Lucky you, you can reserve lanes at a bowling alley for kids in Smyrna TN. Just remember to call the facility days before to ensure that they’re not fully booked on the date you want.

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