History of Bowling
Summary: The history of bowling dated back the time of the advent of civilization.
The idea of knocking down targets with a stone, a ball, or any appropriate object is as old as the human civilization itself. There have been proofs that certain implementations of the game are found in a 7000-year old Egyptian tomb. Similarly, there had been references of an identical sport that had surfaced in barbarian 3rd century Germany.
It was not until 1930 that efforts were made to study the history of bowling. British Anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie found a 7000-year old evidence of an Egyptian child’s tomb artifacts that are supposedly used on a game similar to bowling. Conversely the German historian William Pehle points out substantial evidences that show Germany as the cradle of the sport. German peasants, on a test of faith, would stab their Kegel (sort of club) on the ground as targets and knock those by using rocks or wooden balls rolled on the ground. If they succeed in knocking down the Kegel, they are considered free of sin. This practice eventually shed its secular background to become a favorite sport of the common people.
There were also evidences of the history of bowling during the medieval England. King Edward IV had passed an edict that forbade the “hustling of stones” and other bowling-like sport to keep his troops focused because the sport has kept his troops from training. At that time, many adaptations of the sport have emerged in Europe: the Italian Bocce for instance, the French Petanque and the Lawn Bowling of the British.
English settlers brought bowling to United States. Evidence points out that in year 1611, Capt. James Smith outlawed bowling when he arrived in Jamestown to find the Virginia colonist starving but still playing bowling happily. But instead of fading away into obscurity, the sport gained popularity in America. Now the game was played with the standard nine-pins, mentioned in a quote from Rip Van Winkle as he wakes up to the sounds of “ninepins”. It was believed that the Dutch immigrants in a New York colony were responsible for the nine pins form of bowling.
By 1841, a Connecticut law was passed that banned bowling, especially the nine-pin bowling. Other states followed suit. The incident happened since bowling was then heavily associated with gambling and crime. But instead of fading away, the sport managed to get around the law by the evolution of ten pin of bowling, and bowling fame continued to rise.
Whatever the paths the history of bowling took to arrive in its state today, bowling is still one of the more interesting sports today. Bowling is still a genuine sport, a one of a kind and a definite enjoyment fun. The history of bowling alone is the testament of how great the sport is, from where it began and how far in time it had arrived.