Tuesday, May 06, 2008

CANADIAN HEROES - Five Pin Bowling and Thomas F. Ryan

In Canada, they have a type of bowling called five pin bowling. It is awesome! You play with a little rubber ball, and there are only five pins. The pins don't just count for one, but have different scores (see picture on the right). It's pretty fun, because strikes can be pretty hard to come by.

Five pin bowling came about in 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto because some customers complained that the ten-pin game was too strenuous (only in Canada is regular bowling considered too strenuous). According to Wikipedia, he cut five tenpins down to about 75% of their size, and used hand-sized hard rubber balls, thus inventing the original version of five pin bowling. It spread through Canada like a Canadian. Which means it slowly worked its way around the land, politely asking people if they would like to try it out.

Admittedly, I've only played five pin bowling once - several years ago in Thunder Bay, ON. From what I remember, I got a perfect score of 450 (that was also the trip that I won 2nd prize in a beauty contest and won $10). However, I dont' think my five pin bowling drought will last much longer. We are going to have visitors that like to bowl in the coming weeks, and I intend to get right back in the saddle. And there's an alley just blocks from our house. I'm going to have to get the old bowling shirt out of the closest. (My bowling name is Hoss.) However, maybe I have to get a new, tiny bowling shirt for five pin bowling. If so, I'd better start doing some situps.

Anyway, for inventing a true Canadian original, Thomas F. Ryan is our latest Canadian Hero.

Picture of Mr. Ryan taken from Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association web site.


Gary said...

Wow! I had long believed that this type of bowling was a phenomenon known only to the state of Maryland. When I was a kid my parents took us to bowling alleys where this same exact game was played. For whatever reason they called it "Duck Pin Bowling". Buddha bless Thomas F. Ryan!

BTW- Feeling any better?


Zhu said...

That makes me think I have never played bowling. How can I call myself a Canadian now?

Must do list.

John said...

Gary - I belief Duckpin bowling is slightly different. I couldn't tell you exactly how, though if I remember correctly with Duckpin you get that last chance after a gutter where the ball comes flying back. And feeling a lot better, though Chinese remedies would have helped.

Zhu - Definitely a must!

beaverboosh said...

I don't know what is more riveting, the story of 5 pin bowling or that you have been in Thunder Bay!

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