Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Bowling Night in the JMR Household!

Ten Pin Bowling, or Candlepin Bowling - which is better?  In these parts, that is an age old question.  Every town around here seems to have one bowling alley, most of them being candlepin bowling alleys.  I'm used to ten pin bowling, and MM, after years of watching candlepin bowling on WCVB on Saturday mornings is firmly entrenched on the candlepin bowling side.  Which one would the kids choose?  After years of playing in our candlepin lanes, the JMR household has finally tried them both.  Despite some fits and starts and even more tears, some temper tantrums and some stubbornness, I believe that we have made the decision of which is better.

Ten Pin Bowling.

Granted, I have to explain each type of game with "big balls with the finger holes" or "skinny pins with the small balls," but everyone agreed that the game with the big heavy balls and wide pins was their favorite?  But why?

The kids like the opportunity to hit pins every time that they threw the ball down the lane.  Big balls and wide inviting pins.  Granted, we also bowled with a gutter protectors, but that's beside the point.  The games go faster too when you are only throwing two balls a frame, rather than the three attempts in candlepin bowling.  Finally, ten pin bowling afforded C to experiment with different weights of bowling balls.  He tried a 15 pound ball and the result was a hilarious attempt to throw the ball without hurting anyone.  He settled on a seven pound ball, just like his 5 year old sister.  G, my seven year old decided on a nine pound ball.

Candlepin bowling is slightly different.  I don't think there are too many people outside of New England and Eastern Canada who have even heard of Candlepin bowling, much less played it.  According to the International Candlepin Bowling Association (yes, there is one), candlepin bowling doesn't seem to exist in the United States outside of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. The rules are generally the same with three main differences.  You have three attempts to get all ten pins down (on the third attempt, you only get a 10 score if you knock all of the pins down, not a spare).  The balls are much smaller (only 4.5 inches in diameter) with no finger holes and the pins are much thinner and 15.75 inches tall.  The final major difference is that the pins that have been knocked down (dead pins) remain in the lane to be used strategically on subsequent balls.

While all types of bowling are generally fun (in theory, in practice make sure there is food for the kids and beer for you), the kids found the target practice nature of Candlepin bowling too difficult - leading one child to even boycott one of the games because he was too frustrated.

In an informal poll, the major advantages of ten pin bowling are (1) it's easier to hit the pins and (2) its fun to find different types of balls to throw.  Case closed.

Next up:  Duckpin Bowling.

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