Bowlers at Brooklyn Bowl will not think about the history of bowling because their main concern will be entertainment and enjoyment of the game. But it’s also a great way to pass the time, such as when waiting for your turn at the lane, to talk about the sport’s fun facts. Here are a few that can also serve as ice-breakers.
Ancient Egyptians Probably Played It
In the 1930s, a British anthropologist discovered evidence that the ancient Egyptians played bowling; several bowling-related items were discovered in an ancient grave. The evidence also suggests that the sport originated in about 3200 B.C. so it’s as old as the cuneiform, the world’s first known written word. Just imagine that the game you enjoy in the 21st century was already being enjoyed by people more than 3,000 years ago!
But modern bowling as we know it today was only widely played in the 1800s so it isn’t so old. The first indoor bowling lanes opened in New York City in 1840 while the first televised bowling games were made in 1950.
Nowadays, bowling is enjoyed by amateurs and professionals, as well as the young and old alike. It’s a popular sport that will likely stand the test of time and trends.
Started as a Sexist Game
Modern bowling is enjoyed by both sexes but it wasn’t always this way. No ladies were allowed to play by the American Bowling Congress, thus, effectively making bowling a gentleman’s club through and through. This may be sexist now but it was acceptable in those days to ban ladies from certain sports because of the perception that they were the weaker sex.
But in 1917, things changed when the Women’s National Bowling Association was created as the governing body for women’s bowling. Since then, the sport has taken off with female bowlers making their mark.
We now have the likes of Kelly Kulick, the first woman to become a champion on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), and Hannah Diem, the youngest person in the United States to make 12 strikes in a row (i.e., a perfect game).
The PBA, which was founded in 1958, is also instrumental in spreading the popularity of bowling in other countries. Today, there are 13 member countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Japan, China, and France.
Even the bowling balls have evolved. Ancient Egyptians probably used polished stones as balls while bowlers in the early 1900s used balls made of wood and heavy rubber. By the 1960s, the manufacturers started using polyester resin, which is still in use today.