Knocking 'em Down

You peer over the top of the ball, eyeing the ten pins standing 60 feet away. You take a step forward, then another and another, before winding up and rolling the ball down the lane. It powers toward the pins, gathering steam as it rolls ahead. With a loud crack, the ball crashes into the pins, sending them flying in every direction. You let out an excited yell. Strike!

Bowling is one of the most popular competitive and recreational sports in the world. Millions of players in over 90 countries participate in the sport, from first-timers to superstar professionals.

Scoring: Bowling is a simple game. The players' only goal is to knock down as many pins as possible. Of course, this isn't as easy as it sounds. The lane leading up to the pins is slick; meaning rolls that aren't accurate can easily spin off into the gutter. Players typically earn one point for each pin they knock down, but can earn more my knocking down all ten pins on a single roll, which is called a strike. Players can also earn spares by knocking down all ten pins in two rolls. If a player gets a strike on every turn, they'll earn a score of 300 and a perfect game. Only a handful of bowlers every year record a perfect game.

Competition: Just like in any other sport, bowlers compete on many different levels. Beginning bowlers will compete in league nights at their local alleys. The world's best bowlers compete in professional leagues, with big televised tournaments. Bowling can also be a good form of exercise. The activity can strengthen muscles and tendons and improve hand-eye coordination.

Recreation: Even for those of us who don't participate in leagues, bowling can be an extremely entertaining activity. It's a great way to do something different, hang out with friends and get a little bit of exercise.

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