Bowling ahoy!
December 17, 2003 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Ninepin, tenpin, fivepin, duckpin, candlepin. [more inside]
posted by pedantic (10 comments total)
In Boston, I patroned a candlepin bowling alley and discovered quite a few other variations of bowling that are strikingly different in style, scoring and technique. Most of these games are only found New England and northward to Canada (fivepin seemingly throughout Canada) sparing the more common tenpin flavor—whereas ninepin appears confined mostly to Europe.
posted by pedantic at 8:38 PM on December 17, 2003

Heh—confined—as if it is a bad thing.
posted by pedantic at 8:39 PM on December 17, 2003

As a Maritimer I can tell you that candlepin is _hard_. Having to deal with fallen pins which aren't removed from play, with the really good players being able to use them to their advantage. That no one has ever recorded a perfect game. Definitely a shame it's not more widespread.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:54 PM on December 17, 2003

Candlepin is so frustrating. I love the sensation of rolling a regular size bowling ball straight down the middle of the lane and just anticipating that strike. In candlepin, it seems like no matter how hard or how straight down the middle you roll, you'll still just knock down three or four pins.
posted by alidarbac at 4:17 AM on December 18, 2003

A regular sized ball? When I was a boy in New England I had never seen a ten-pin ball. When we moved to Ohio I was shocked, I say shocked!, to seer the size of that mother.

Anyway, I grew to like it. Nothing like seeing those pins fly after hurtling 8-16 pounds at 'em.

I was in Maine for the winter a few years back and had the chance to re-live my candle/duck pin youth. Damn did we have some fun. Beer might have had something to do with that but I loved the new found freedom of whipping those smaller balls down the alley. And that dead wood? Gotta love it.

Bowling related home building tip: old lanes make great countertops. /aside
posted by Dick Paris at 4:27 AM on December 18, 2003

Well, in Redfield, South Dakota, there's the South Dakota Developmental Center, which has a campus including an activity center, which contains a 4-lane duckpin alley. I used to work in the activity center, a long time ago, and occasionally was able to play on the lanes. Though the facilities were maintained at a level below what would be acceptable in a commercial bowling venue, it was still fun.

The Developmental Center still does tours, so if you're in the area you might want to put it on your list of stops. It is far more interesting than the Corn Palace in Mitchell, and it is free from the GIANT! BILLBOARD! MECCA! OF! CHEESY! TOURIST! ATTRACTIONS! that is the Black Hills area.

It is quite possible that the duckpin lanes have been dismantled by now. It's been almost 20 years since I was there.
posted by yesster at 6:54 AM on December 18, 2003

I've rolled a 225 in tenpin so when I tried candlepin, it was beyond humbling. In finding the links above, I also ran across rubber duckpin, whereby a rubber ring is 'round the pin. It makes for an eerily silent bowling alley.
posted by pedantic at 6:54 AM on December 18, 2003

Though not a native, I grew up in an area of central Texas settled by Germans. There's a 9-pin bowling club near my house, and when I was 10 years old, I set pins on Saturday nights (I don't remember how much I got paid). That was a trip; you sit up above the pins, and after someone bowls, jump down to clear the fallen pins. It was actually a pretty dangerous job, between the power bowlers who sent pins flying and the occasional bowler who didn't wait for you to get back up out of the way before rolling the next ball.
posted by tippiedog at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2003

My dad was a pinsetter when he was a kid.

Racing the Moon was shot at what was (at the time, anyhow) the last manually set bowling alley in the USA. It looks dangerous indeed.

And of course, I can't finish this post without mentioning the other classic bowling movie, Kingpin.
posted by adamrice at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2003

There's still manual lanes at the Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, according to their website. No dots or arrows (Rangefinder) at those lanes either.
posted by ALongDecember at 1:39 PM on December 18, 2003

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