Let's Go.....Bowling
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Let's Go.....Bowling

If you are looking for some great family fun, why not go bowling. That's right, bowling is still around and a great way to have fun with the family. Did you know that bowling has been around for over 2,000 years! Check out some more fun facts about bowling.

For all of us trying to find the right activities to do with our families can be a chore. In today's society our children have far to many home bound activities to keep them entertained.  But, what about family entertainment?  Do you do anything together?  Play board games, card games, even video games as a family?  In most cases probably not. 

It is highly important for all of us to find some sort of common ground within or families to get to know each other and enjoy life as a family.  Oh, sure running out the door and hopping in the car to get everyone to school and work is so much fun, we do it every single day.  But, do we truly communicate and enjoy each other's company? 

If you want to reconnect with your children, then its time to find something to do that will keep all of you busy.  One great sport that is low stress on the body, great for the mind and gives everyone a chance to socialize is bowling. 

A little bowling history-  Back in the old days.  Okay, over 2,000 years ago, the Egyptians and Romans knew a thing or two about creating entertainment.  They started developing different ways to keep themselves busy to pass the time.  One of their creative ideas was to pitch rocks next to other rocks to see who could get closer.  This game developed into what is now known as lawn bowling or bocce.

Over time, the game developed new rules and soon, became what we know as bowling today.  In the late 1800's, in the city of New York.  The game of bowling came to life. 

By the early 1950's bowling alleys started popping up all over the nation and became the ultimate gathering place for many men.  It was a way to get a little exercise and enjoy the company of others. 

Bowling is a sport that is played all over the world.  However, there are many different versions of the sport. 

What are some of the different versions of bowling?- As you may already know, here in the U.S. the standard bowling game is called ten-pin.  In Canada, the game is known as Duckpin bowling.  The pins are shorter and the ball used is smaller.  However, they are still heavy. In Europe it is nine-pin.  The pins actually have strings attached to them. Candlepin is another game that is played in Canada.  The pins are quite tall and narrow.  Each game, however, has a different variation on the scoring.  But, all are played with the same items, wooden pins and heavy balls.

Bowling is exercise, right?-  Bowling is a form of exercise.  However, if you are looking for an intense work-out, you won't get it from bowling.  However, bowling does work a lot of the major muscle groups.  The point of bowling in exercise is to help stretch and tone different muscles.  The muscles in your arms and legs will typically feel the most pressure from bowling. If you have never bowled, take it easy the first time you try it. 

It is highly recommended that you be careful.  Be sure not to select a ball that may be to heavy for you to handle. It is a good idea to start out with a light ball and then move up to one that you may be more comfortable with throwing.  Typically, the balls start out at around four pounds (children's balls) and move up from there.  The heaviest ball is around 16 pounds. 

How to play-  Okay yes, the game is simple. You simply put your fingers into the wholes of a ball and throw it down the lane.  But, if you want to make sure you have a better understanding, there is actually a lot more to the game than just throwing the ball down the lane. 

Scoring the game is a good way to help teach your children a little math.  Yes there are ten pins, but when you add up each frame it doesn't total 100, in fact when scoring the game at the end the total actually comes up to 300. 

You are given two balls to throw per frame of bowling.  The tally begins with the first number of pins that are hit.  For example say you hit 3 pins.  The next ball you get 4 pins.  Your total for the first frame will be 7. In the next frame, you knock down all the pins with the first ball.  This is known as a strike and gives a few extra points.  When the bowler rolls the next frame, what ever the number is, for example the first ball is a 5 the next a 2, then the score for the second frame would be 7+10+7=24. 

Today, most bowling alleys use computerized scoring systems, so you get to be lazy and not do the math.  However, you can actually print out a score sheet and have your children do the math while you play. Given this, you could also just have the children figure out how the game is scored by working out the problem as the game goes on.  This may keep them busy in between frames for you.

On the lanes, there are a series of dots and arrows.  These dots and arrows are a way to help you line up your ball to hit the pins.  Everyone has a different throwing style and sometimes, the dots and arrows don't always work out for the individual.  However, for many who are known as straight bowlers, the dots and arrows can be quite useful to aim at the pins. 

There ware two sets of dots near the ball rack.  These dots are provided so that you can line up your feet. Place your feet near or on the appropriate dots to help give your body the best angle to hit the pins.  Bend your elbow up to your chest with the ball set, bring the ball up and back, take a few steps at the same time, while aiming at the arrows, then release. When releasing it is a good idea to have your thumb pointing upwards for a good straight release and you should get a strike. It may sound simple, but, you have to angle your body just so to find your true technique. 

The one part that everyone needs to remember about the play of the game; just have fun.  Oh sure, part of fun can be the competitive edge, however, watch your stress level and remember that it is just a game. 

Where can you bowl?-  For many cities today, it may be a challenge to find a bowling alley.  Do some research of your area to see where an alley may be located.  Many fitness centers now have the alleys built in as part of the exercise programs that they offer.

Equipment- Most bowling alleys provide the necessary equipment.  Balls and shoes.  Typically, shoes are rented at the cost of around $2-$3 dollars.  Bowling shoes typically run a little bigger, so you may want to consider asking for a 1/2 size down from your normal shoe size.  Balls are typically free.  You will however, have to wonder around and find a ball that best fits you.  There are a lot of them and it can take a little time.  So be prepared. 

For those who truly enjoy bowling, they purchase their own equipment.  Ball prices can start at around $10 and go up from there, depending on what you are looking for and the type of material it is made out of.  Shoes are the same, depending on styles, colors, etc.  Don't forget a bag and a towel.  These are important tools.  When the lanes have been cleaned and waxed, they appear to have a glow to them, this is a liquid wax that does get on the balls and on your hands.  It is a good idea to have a towel handy that you can use to clean off both.

How much does it cost to pay- Prices for games will vary based on the days of the week.  For example, a bowling alley in Kerrville, TX provides games on Sunday mornings for $1.50 a game.  This price only lasts until 12:00pm.  Rental shoes are usually a set price and doesn't change.  Some alleys have set prices for say an hour of bowling.  Depending on how many people are in your party, this can be a great value.

Watch for coupons.  Sometimes you will find a free game of bowling or a savings coupon for bowling on the boxes of frozen pizza or sometimes cereal boxes.  Almost all bowling alleys will accept these coupons, but, it is best to call ahead and find out before you try to use them. Yes, if you have more than one person playing and you have more than one coupon, you can use them. 

You can even check online for discount coupons.  Who knows your local bowling alley may have specials going on and you didn't even know.  If they have a website, they may also have "online" specials.  Check it out and see what you can find.

Bowling is still considered one of the most inexpensive forms of family entertainment.  So come on, grab the kids and hit the lanes for a little social activity, learning and fun!

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Comments (2)

Love it!

I haven't bowled a game in years, but after reading this I may take it up again,