Bowling for Birthdays

I have discovered how to strike-it-rich here in Saskatoon.

Open a bowling alley.

Don't believe me? Just come to Saskatoon and try and go bowling at any of the three bowling alleys on a Friday night. I called at 3 p.m. to be informed that the next available open lane was at 11:45pm. Awesome. I will just tell everyone to meet me there at 11:45 for 2 hours of bowling. Needless to say, midnight bowling didn't happen. If you were willing to opt for 5-pin bowling, your odds at scoring a coveted Friday slot time was slightly better; 10:15 was the next open slot.

I, for one, was very willing to go for 5-pin but I have come to realize that many (mainly guys) are against the 'leaner' bowling. How uncanadianYes, it's true; 5-pin bowling was imagined by a Canadian in 1909 in Toronto who was interested in drawing out business men to bowling alleys during their lunch break. 10-pin was considered too strenous for lunch-time in a suit but when they took away 5 pins, shrunk them and cut the size of the ball to 1/5, all of a sudden it was a hit.

Some random facts about 5-pin bowling:

* only played in Canada
* those quite inept at bowling with get extra practice playing 5-pin. Each round, players get 3 balls. If you knock them all down with the first: a strike, the second: a spare, and the third: you get the full 15-points
* until 1967, a bowler had to knock down the right corner pin, called the counter, in order to score any points
* unlike 10 pin-bowling, each pin in 5-pin has a specific value. The center pin is worth 5-pt compared to 2-pt for the corner pin. The value of all the pins is 15-pts so a 'perfect game' is 450, compared to 10-pin's 300
* the pins have a special rubber ring that results in the pin moving further when hit
* in 2007, 5-pin bowling was ranked #4 in CBC's list of '50 Greatest Canadian Inventions'

Despite that 5-pin bowling is 'a part of our heritage' (loved those commercials growing up) the majority of guys I talk to just don't like 5-pin. In fact, rather than bowling 5-pin, our group decided to go to a movie instead. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the balls are so much smaller and they don't get quite the same kick out of tossing them around, or maybe it's due to the fact that since the pins are spread out more, you can't just torpedo the ball down the lane and knock them all down in one shot (which seems to be so many guys 'technique' in 10-pin). Despite the guys aversion to 5-pin, Saskatoon-ers love their bowling, regardless of how many pins there are. 

  Learning from our previous mistakes, Amy called and booked a lane for Chance's 23rd birthday a day in advance and secured a 8:00 pm time slot for 10-pin. When we got to the bowling alley, I was impressed by what I saw. Comfortable couches (2 for each lane), movie screens with music videos playing, and black-light bowling. We played two games.

 The first game was dominated by the boys with Chance and Shawn coming in 1, 2 respectively. But the most improved had to go to Amy, who went from getting gutter-balls for the first 4 rounds to leading the score-board for the majority of the second game.
  We were all impressed, but in the end I ended up in first.

It was slightly fantastic beating the boys, even if Chance says I ruined his birthday by beating him.

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