By Brian Rota
In some locations in the New England area (mostly in Massachusetts) you have the option of either playing Candlepin or Ten-Pin Bowling. For those that do not know what Candlepin bowling is, it is slightly different from Ten-Pin. It has been around since the late 1880’s. The difference is that Candlepin allows you to roll three balls, giving you three attempts to knock down all of the pins. Whereas Ten-Pin only allows you to roll two balls giving you two attempts to knock the pins down. The pins are also much bigger in size, while Candlepin has very skinny shaped pins. The balls in Ten-Pin are much bigger with a diameter of 8.5” with finger holes to roll it more accurately due to its size. The balls for Candlepin are very small in size with a 4.5” maximum diameter. It is much more difficult to play Candlepin even though you get one more ball because the pins are not closely spaced together like Ten-Pin is setup. It is more likely you will see a person get a “strike” in Ten-Pin because the balls are much bigger in size with the pins packed closely.
Norwood Sports Center in Massachusetts has been around since 1940, providing people with over 75 years of entertainment. When you walk inside you get that instant smell coming from the alleys upstairs. The atmosphere is nice and is a great place to go on a rainy day. It has always been a family run business and what differentiates it from other bowling alleys is that it has an older style look to it inside. That’s what makes it so great, there have been hardly any changes since opening because nothing needs to change. “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it” as some people say. Ten-pin bowling alleys tend to upgrade their alleys every few years to stay updated. Sometimes they add more activities to their building such as billiards, arcade game rooms, restaurants, a bar, or other sorts of things that will attract people to it. They also have disco lights, loud music and turn the lights off for Ten-Pin at most places. Another great fact about Candlepin bowling is that it is more affordable than Ten-Pin. At Norwood Sport Center 1 String costs $3.25 with and $1.00 shoe rental. Ten-Pin games vary at many places because they make you pay for either the game with shoe rental, or pay by the hour with shoe rental. Typically, you will pay about $12-$15 for a Ten-Pin game and that includes shoe rental. There are pros and cons for both types of bowling, it depends on your preference. My preference is Candlepin because I have been going to Norwood Sports Center since I was a child and I really enjoy bowling there more than anywhere else. The people are friendly and the atmosphere is nice which makes it enjoyable. Overall, both versions of bowling are fun to play and I definitely recommend trying Candlepin if you get the chance to. With few Candlepin alleys remaining in the Northeast, if you ever find yourself near a location, don’t hesitate to try it. Norwood Sport Center is about 40 minutes away from Bryant, so give it a shot if you’re feeling adventurous!