A bowling league is a group event where several teams bowl against each other over the course of a season. Most bowling leagues consist of four team players that meet up once a week or once every other week, usually at the same day and time. Teams of three or five players are also common. Leagues can be set up as male-only, female-only, or mixed. Four-person teams tend to be used in mixed leagues, while three- and five-player teams are more common in male-only and female-only leagues.
Leagues were established soon after the most modern type of bowling was created. Ten-pin bowling is a modern form of bowling that became organized in 1895 in New York City.
Each session, each team in the league faces one other team. In most bowling leagues each team plays three games per scheduled match. After the first week of the league, the average for each player is set, and the average can go up or down after each subsequent session as more games are bowled. Though there are "scratch" leagues where only actual score counts, most leagues use the bowler averages to determine team and/or individual handicaps. The handicap is the difference of the sum of averages between the two teams that are facing each other (sometimes then multiplied by a percentage, such as 90%), or an amount calculated from a score that is above the highest team average in the league so that each team gets a handicap amount. The handicap gives teams with lower averages a chance to compete against teams with higher averages.
Besides the fun of having a team and rolling a ball down the alley to hit a few pins, there are often weekly and seasonal cash prizes and pools that go along with the game. The point of this is to have something to work for. Some leagues will have strike pools or spare pools. This is when team members put in money to play the game. The first person to get a certain amount of strikes or spares wins the total amount of money that everyone put in. In some cases, a ticket is drawn and the bowler holding that ticket must roll a strike to win the jackpot. If no one wins it in one week, then the money carries over to the next week until someone finally gets a strike. Other common jackpots are high scratch game, high handicap game, and "mystery" game (where a score is drawn and anyone whose game matched that score wins a prize).
Bowling leagues normally attract an adult crowd, whether it is duck pin bowling or ten-pin bowling. However, youth bowling leagues are also common, particularly on weekend afternoons. This gives kids the time to learn the game while competing with friends. They start off with bumpers and work their way up until the bumpers are no longer needed. (Bumpers are used to block the gutters so that the bowling ball always has a chance to hit some pins.)
Famous quotes containing the word league:
“Stereotypes fall in the face of humanity. You toodle along, thinking that all gay men wear leather after dark and should never, ever be permitted around a Little League field. And then one day your best friend from college, the one your kids adore, comes out to you.”
—Anna Quindlen (b. 1952)