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Bowling is a Maryland tradition. Dating to the 19th century, Marylanders and Baltimoreans in particular have left their mark on this pastime. For many years, Baltimore was cited as the birthplace of the variant game called “duckpins”. Even though Maryland is synonymous with duckpins, it does not descriminate against traditional 10-pin bowling.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Bowling championship every year since its inception in 2004. In April 2008, the team brought home the title.

Although bowling has seen a decline over the years, it still has a strong following in Maryland. Whether 10-pin, or duckpin, there still is life in the fading sport. This can be seen by emerging establishments that combine new aspects, such as fine dining, with tradition. New venues are set to revitalize the game, and introduce bowling to a new audience.

Duckpin Bowling. Introduced to Baltimore in 1899, duckpins became an instant craze. Using smaller pins and smaller balls (without finger holes) along with standard lane dimensions, it added more challenge and need for strategy than regular bowling. This is evidenced by the fact that no “perfect” game has ever been recorded.

Though recent histories have called duckpins a Massachusetts invention (as early as 1893), Maryland has established itself as the heart of the game. Today, only 56 sanctioned duckpin alleys survive in this country. Of these, Maryland boasts nearly half that number (27). Maryland also lays claim to the longest operating duckpin alley (Patterson Bowling Center in Baltimore, open since 1927), and the National Duckpin Bowling Congress which organizes national tournaments, and offers connections for anyone looking to take up the sport.

Bowling on Maryland TV. Since the early days of television, Maryland has added some of its unique flavor to the airwaves, and bowling played its part. From the early 1950s to the 1970s, bowling's popularity was mirrored in such Baltimore programs as Bowling for Dollars, Pinbusters, Strikes and Spares, Spare Time, and even a duckpin show, Duckpins and Dollars.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2009

July 1, 2009   
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