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The City Journals

Bowling Through the Ages

Apr 07, 2016 03:48PM ● By Cassidy Ward

By Cassidy Ward

Ogden - Few modern sports have a history as long and storied as bowling. An archeological dig 90 miles south of Cairo, Egypt, unearthed what appears to be a prototype of the game dating back to the second or third century and used balls carved from stone. Further digs have uncovered earlier versions dating back more than 5,000 years and used balls made from grain husks wrapped in leather. 

Over the centuries, bowling has been adapted alongside the people who have played the game. Its meaning has evolved as well. In the fifth century Germany, it was common for men to carry clubs, known as Kegels, to protect themselves and their families. Due to the violence associated with these clubs, they were seen as a symbol of sinful behavior. 

A version of bowling was used as a religious ceremony wherein the clubs would be set up in a corner and a stone rolled toward them. If the club was knocked down, the roller was believed to be cleansed of their sins. If the club remained standing the roller would have to work harder at penance. 

The number of clubs used in the ritual fluctuated throughout people and times. Martin Luther is credited with setting the number of pins at nine toward the 15th century, and it would remain that way until 1841 when the state of Connecticut banned nine pin bowling in an attempt to quell gambling. 

Humans, knowing no end to innovation, added a 10th pin to circumvent the law. Perhaps the greatest example of historical Kegling fortitude comes from Sir Francis Drake, who is said to have been in the midst of a game on July 19, 1588, when the arrival of the Spanish Armada was announced. It’s said that his response to the news was, “We have time enough to finish the game and beat the Spaniards too.”

While the game is more likely now to involve a few rounds of beer and laser lights than sanctified rituals or border disputes, it hasn’t suffered any decrease in popularity. Bowling has become so ubiquitous a pastime that lanes are found in almost every town in America, and Ogden is no exception. As a matter of fact, Ogden is home to three halls of antiquated worship, and we’ve got your guide to each of them, so you can rest easy knowing you can always find a lane.

Fat Cats, located at 2261 Kiesel Ave (Inside The Junction), open Monday–Thursday from 10 a.m. to Midnight, Friday–Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. It is closed Sundays. 

Fat Cats Ogden features 32 lanes, so the odds are that whatever the hour you won’t have to wait long for a game. During the day, you can enjoy a classic no-frills game, but at night you’ll enter Thunder Alley with laser lights, colored pins, games and a live DJ. In addition to the satisfaction that comes with rolling a solid 10 frames, additional games mean you have the opportunity to win cash and prizes. Fat Cats also features an in-house arcade, restaurant, laser tag, and a small bar with food and drinks delivered directly to your lane. In the summers, they offer a 99 cent special on shoe rentals and individual games, so you can get the kids out of the house and doing something active without your bank account ending up in the gutter. 

Ben Lomond Lanes, located at 329 Washington Blvd., Open Sunday–Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday–Saturday, 9 a.m. to  midnight. 

Ben Lomond Lanes is the small-town alley that is able to offer reasonable rates all year round. Saturday is date night, from 9 to midnight your date bowls for free, and Sunday offers rates of $1.50 for shoe rentals and games. “The Dude” would feel right at home in this quant, comfortable establishment.

Wildcat Lanes, located on the second floor of the Shepherd Union building on the Weber State Campus, Open Monday–Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11:30 p.m. 

Though this alley may reside within the hallowed halls of higher education, you needn’t be a student to take advantage of their offerings. Wildcat Lanes has only eight lanes available. In addition to bowling, the game center offers billiards, air hockey, and video games as well as drinks and snacks from an adjacent food counter. WSU is also home to a bowling club that meets four times a week and focuses on honing specific skills to improve your game. 

No matter where in Ogden you’re located, when you get the itch to roll, or what your budget or goals, there is bound to be a lane that will fit your needs. Keep your wrist straight, toes behind the line, and let ‘em fly.