Do you ever need a change of pace at work or at home? It's important for all IT professionals to remember to sometimes take a break from the hard labor of certification and find something to renew and refresh your creative energies. Here at TestOut Continuing Education, we get into that mode several times a year, including for an occasion coming up next week.
TestOut Bowl marks the annual pilgrimage of our highly-trained work force to the local bowling alley for an afternoon of tasty eats and some good natured, no-holds-barred, howl-inducing attempts at athleticism. To help set the mood for what's sure to be an outbreak of sore wrists, pulled hamstrings, and injured bragging rights, here are a few facts about the ancient art of bowling:
(Even if you can’t bowl, you can still talk a good game.)
- Bowling, like certification, is old — it began in Germany about 400 C.E. as a religious ritual intended to cleanse oneself from sin. Participants rolled a rock into a club representing a heathen. (Almost as difficult as studying for that all important first cert.)
- Bowling is almost as popular as certification. More than 100 million people worldwide enjoy bowling, with 70 million of them here in the U.S.
- Henry the VIII, besides being a lady’s man, was an avid bowler — but only among people of noble breeding. In 1511 he banned bowling for the lower classes by imposing a hefty fine on private lanes as a way to limit them to the wealthy. Another British law passed 30 years later prohibited workers from bowling except on Christmas Day, and only in their master’s home and in his presence. (Probably a lot like working for Mark Zuckerberg.)
- The Brits aren’t the only people to fiddle with bowling. In 1520, Protestant reformer Martin Luther set the number of pins officially at 9. (See his little known thesis number 96.) Once America became a nation, we too got into the act. In 1841, Connecticut State banned nine-pin bowling as a way to stop gambling. This led the next day to the “invention” of ten-pin bowling as a means of getting around the law. (Apparently bowlers, like IT professionals, are a crafty lot.)
- Nine-pin bowling is still banned in every state except Texas.
- The Inazawa Grand Bowling Centre in Japan is the largest bowling alley in the world with more than 100 lanes.
- Not to be outdone, Las Vegas has an actual Bowling Stadium! A four-story neon-lit monument to the sport, referred to by the Los Angeles Times as the “Taj Mahal of Tenpins.”
- Pins weighs 3.5 lbs. and are set 12 inches apart from one another.
- Bowling an optimal strike is fairly simple: A right-handed bowler’s ball only connects with the 1, 3, 5 and 9 pins; a left-handed bowler’s ball will contact the 1, 2, 5, and 8 pins.
- Because of their shape and weight, it’s only necessary that a pin tilt at least 9 degrees to fall over.
- A “turkey” refers to three strikes in a row. A “ham-bone” is four in a row. Six strikes in a row is called a “wild turkey.” Nine strikes in a row and you’ve got yourself a “Golden Turkey.”
Good luck out there, and like Nero said to the Christians: Let the games begin!
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. His favorite kind of a turkey, in or our of the bowling alley, is a turkey drumstick.