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08 August, 2007

Candlepin bowling for idiots

If you are not from New England, you probably have no clue what candlepin bowling is. And that's a shame. Much like the way French Bread in Paris is just called "bread", candlepin bowling in Massachusetts is just called "bowling". Hard to believe a sport so simple and retrofittable is so localized. But it is.

here is a picture of the pins that are used in candlepin bowling:



Pretty wild, huh? It's the same lanes used for "regular" (or as we used to call it, 10-pin bowling, which is in itself another strange misnomer since both versions of the game use 10 pins).

If you want to know everything about candlepin bowling, you can check out this Wikipedia entry on the topic.

I grew up playing candlepin bowling. Went almost every weekend with my Dad, and it is one of the clearest memories I have of a regular activity we would do together. And it was fun. The major difference in this game is four-fold:

1. The pins (see image above).

2. The ball (smaller balls... see image of menacing looking individual below)



3. You get to bowl 3 balls instead of only 2 per "box", probably because the smaller balls don't take out as much as the big ones do.

4. This is the BIG ONE. After each ball, the pins are NOT reorganized, and the things that have fallen over are NOT cleared from the lane. This means that there can be LOTS of strategy and that every single time you bowl the ball, it is a completely unique and different target, with lots of options for achieving your goal. The pins that are knocked over, which are called "wood" (Beavis and Butthead would love that), remain, and can be used as part of the game (see image below - a crappy image, but gives you the general idea).



It is much harder to bowl a "perfect" game, and in fact, the highest score ever recorded in a "sanctioned" game was 245 out of a possible 300 (whereas plenty of 300's have been bowled in 10-pin bowling). The average scores for professionals in candlepin bowling are only in the 140-170 range, whereas in 10-pin, scores well over 200 are typical among professionals.

Why am I telling you about this? Because it is another little way in which we New Englanders are better than the rest of all y'all!

:)

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