Sunday, March 8, 2009

Take the Canucks Bowling, Take Them Bowling!

Confession time: I, as a worldly man of the world, have gone bowling before. Now, most Americans think of “bowling” as a game involving balls bigger than your head, flung violently down one of 50 or so lanes at the bowling centre (usually located in the south or midwest), which will in turn knock over some percentage of 10 pins that are swept away and replaced with a fresh set between frames by a starship-like device called a pinsetter.

English lads of a certain fopish temperament might think one means the pin-less, outdoor “lawn bowling” aka “Bowls” (which is also quite popular here in Canada). Both are variants of the game first invented (at least as far as we can tell) in ancient Egypt, and popular all over the world since at least 300AD.

Canadian bowling is nothing like this. The balls are the size of grapefruits (similar to those used in lawn bowling and Bocce), there are only five pins instead of ten (which actually makes it more challenging, I find), and the pins are reset via strings coming out of the top (the pins are pulled up like puppets then reset between frames, which is quite funny to me), oh and you get three bowls per frame, not two (unless you strike or spare, of course).

I have “bowled” 10-pin, I have “bowled” in lawn bowling, I have “bowled” in games like Bocce. I had never before seen or played anything quite like Canadian (aka 5-pin) bowling. In part this is due to where we played, in a nearby town called Sidney (Victoria doesn’t have a bowling alley?!). I’m used to the honking huge mega-fun centres from the States. Most bowling alleys in Canada (it would seem from looking online) are much more ... cosy, including the 6-lane centre we played at.

So how did I do? Not very well. It took me quite a while to get used to the smaller (and more importantly lighter) ball, and even when I kept it out of the gutter, getting a strike was quite challenging since the pins are fewer and farther apart. As you’ll see below, I did however attain a few moments of glory.

Bowling is a fun group activity even if you’re no good at it, and we’re grateful to our friends Christian and Sarah for getting us out for this great new experience, and The Rock United Pentecostal Church for arranging the evening. Here’s a few highlights:

(You can see a larger, unbadged version of this on our MobileMe Gallery.)


heddo said...

Janet bowled pretty well too! In the shot with Don, she's to his left and knocked a bunch of pins down.