Bowling is one of the most popular participatory (and television) sports in North America. The game is a test of coordination and strength but is relaxing enough to be social as well. Bowling is a sport that can be played by people of all ages, regardless of sex or physical condition.
The object is to roll the bowling ball down a "lane" and knock down as many "pins" as possible. There are two types of bowling: five pin or 10 pin. Each bowler gets two tries in a "frame" in ten pin, and three balls per frame in five pin bowling. A game lasts for ten frames.
A "strike" occurs when a player knocks down all the pins in the first attempt. In 10 pin bowling, the bowler gets 10 points for a strike. In five pin, a strike counts for 15 points. A player getting a strike gets a bonus of the score from the next two balls in the next frame (these, in effect, count twice).
The "spare" is the second best way to score, by knocking over all the pins with the second ball. A 10 pin bowler gets 10 points for a spare plus the score from the next ball thrown. In five pin, the player scores 15 points for the spare plus the sum from the next ball thrown. Candlepin bowling has 10 pins, and each player throws 3 balls but you leave deadwood on the alley until all balls are thrown (or all pins are down).
If not all the pins are knocked down, a player gets one point for each pin knocked down.
Bowling can be a noisy sport, with the noise of falling pins in several lanes at once. It is courtesy that if requested, to be quiet so a player in the next lane can concentrate. Like driving a car at a four way stop, yield to the lane to your right (though, the bowler shooting the second ball has priority over the one who is rolling a first ball).
The basic requirements for bowling is a ball and shoes. Most are readily supplied or rented at bowling lanes. If you are a competitive player, you may invest in your own equipment. A 10 pin bowling ball is big and has three finger holes (for 2 fingers and the thumb) on the side. They typically cost between $80-$200. Five pin bowling balls are small and have no finger holes. You can purchase a pair of five pin bowling balls for $80-$100. Shoes are the same for five and 10 pin bowling and come in many sizes, styles and colors. Footwear can be purchased at sporting goods stores or bowling centres for about $50. Some bowlers may find a bowling wristband helpful, to provide wrist support for lifting the heavier 10-pin-ball. This band costs $8 to $12.
Recreational bowling can be booked ahead at most bowling centres. Some lanes even offer daycare service.
There are several Toronto area lanes who provide facilites for the various leagues for men, women and youth. Information on the various leagues is also available from your area bowling centre. You can register as an individual or as a team with four people. League play starts in September and continues into April, costing about $500 per person.