Strange lanes: Weird but true facts about bowling
Prepare to be bowled over by these weird, wild facts about bowling.
Think you know everything there is to know about America's favorite pin-based pastime? Don't be so sure about that! Prepare to be bowled over by these weird, wild facts about bowling:
As old as the written word
While modern, indoor bowling dates back to the 1840s and was invented in New York City, the roots of bowling stretch back far, far longer. The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame reports that British anthropologists in 1930 discovered evidence of a game resembling bowling buried in Egyptian tombs, suggesting the game was played as far back as 3200 BCE. That's roughly around the same time that written language was being developed. Don't believe us? Watch this detailed, 100-percent-accurate historical reenactment:
Since then, games similar to bowling cropped up in numerous cultures around the world. Germans in 400 CE used the game as a sort of spiritual cleanse, with the pins (known as "kegels") representing heathens. Bowlers were known as keglers and needless to say, the phrase "I'm off to church to knock out some kegels" had a very different connotation back then.
The sport of Kings (not us)
Back in 16th century Europe, bowling was enjoyed by the wealthy and the peasantry alike. However, in 1511, the English King Henry VIII - an avid bowler - banned the sport for the lower class, imposing heavy fines to ensure it remained a pastime of the elite. King Henry reasoned that the lower classes should instead be focusing on archery, which (while still pretty rad) did not have their own namesake silk shirts. This was amended in a law passed in 1541 to allow servants to bowl only on Christmas, as the Lord intended.
The Pin-istant Reformation
Sixteenth century religious leader and founder of Protestantism Martin Luther wasn't just about nailing theses to church doors. According to some sources, Luther was a big fan of bowling and used it in many of his sermons to illustrate his points about human imperfection. In fact, Luther may have had a hand in standardizing the number of pins used in the game, which he set at nine. He might have been upset to learn that nine pin is currently banned in every state except Texas - because not everything is bigger in Texas.
Balls and ballers
The first bowling balls were rounded stones with no finger holes, similar to a bocce ball. When the sport was taking off in the early 1900s, the balls were often made of wood or heavy duty rubber. Imagine the bounce on those suckers! In the 1960s, the balls started to become made of a polyester resin, which paved the way for the colorful plastic balls of today.
"In bowling slang, three strikes in a row is called a 'turkey."
Turkeys and ham bones
Who's hungry? In bowling slang, three strikes in a row is called a "turkey," six strikes a "wild turkey" and a whopping nine strikes known as a "golden turkey." Inexplicably, four strikes in a row is called a "ham bone," because I guess after awhile, you get sick of turkey. Luckily, the executive-chef-inspired menu at Kings features more than just turkey and ham, with gourmet pizzas, steak tips, shrimp tacos and Kung Pao cauliflower being just a few of the delicious options.
The Inazawa Grand Bowling Centre in Japan is currently the world's largest bowling alley, with 116 lanes total. This, however, pales in comparison to some of the bowling centers that Japan used to have in the heyday of bowling's popularity in the country between 1960 and 1972. Alleys with as many as 500 (!!!) lanes were found throughout the country, presumably to accommodate the popularity of the game among giant atomic monsters.
Stateside, the Las Vegas/Reno area is rumored to have some of the largest bowling facilities, with the "Taj Mahal of Tenpins" residing in Reno in the form of the 78 lane National Bowling Stadium.
We may not be the world's biggest, but Kings is the best at creating a memorable time, on the lanes and off. Come check out our state of the art lanes and table games, as well as delicious food and inspired cocktails in a fun and funky atmosphere.