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Bowling is a sport where one rolls a ball (usually from eight to sixteen pounds in weight) in an attempt to hit ten pins on the other side of the alley. The governing body for professional bowling is the PBA. The governing body for amateur bowling is the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).


There are ten frames per standard game of bowling. A frame can be compared to an inning in the sport of baseball. When a ball is thrown and all ten pins fall, it is called a strike, indicated as an X on the scoring sheet. When all ten pins are knocked over in two balls it is called a spare, indicated as a /. If in two balls the bowler fails to knock over all ten pins, it is referred to as an open frame and he/she is awarded the number of pins knocked down in that frame. In the case of a strike, he/she is awarded 10 points plus however many pins you knock over in your next two throws. For a spare, the scoring is 10 plus the pins in your next throw.

In all frames but the tenth, you have 2 chances to hit the ten pins. If you get all ten in one throw, you move to the next frame. In the tenth frame there are extra opportunities to hit more pins:

  • if the bowler throws a strike on the first ball,
  • if the bowler throws a strike on the first two balls, and
  • if the bowler throws a spare on the first two balls.

A perfect game in bowling is 300, which is 12 strikes in a row.

Popular Culture

The Michael Moore schlockumentary Bowling for Columbine, which focuses on the "culture of fear" that we have involving guns, relates such to that the Columbine killers, on that morning, attended a bowling class before the school day began.