Bowling first appeared in the Chinook yearbooks in 1948, with the standings for the intramural league as well as a picture of the winners. From then on, there have been clubs and teams dedicated to bowling at Washington State for both men and women. Prior to the recent Compton Union Building remodel, there was a bowling alley in the present location of The Bookie. WSU students could also take bowling classes on campus, instead of meeting at Zeppos bowling alley in Pullman for class as they do now.
In 1982, the WSU men’s bowling team brought home a national title. They accomplished this by outlasting Michigan State with a score of 192-168. This was their second national tournament appearance; the previous year, the team took second place to Wichita State.
In the early 1990s, the WSU Bowling teams practiced a couple times a week in the CUB bowling alley. Tournaments were about once a month around the western United States, sometimes held in Pullman, as well as in Denver, Portland, Pocatello, Boise, and other cities. Keith Rhoades ’95 described his experience on WSU’s bowling team, “It was a cool experience because in my eyes it was an inter-collegiate sport. You felt the pride of being a Cougar on the team and in the tournament. You were representing WAZZU and the Crimson and Gray.”
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The history of bowling can be traced back to the Roman Empire as well as ancient Egypt. In the Roman Empire, they played a primitive version of bowling by tossing stone objects as close as they could to other stone objects. This later transformed into modern day Italian bocce ball (or outdoor bowling). Archaeologists also unearthed objects in an ancient Egyptian child’s grave dated to 3200 B.C. that are assumed to be a primitive form of bowling.
Many people believe that bowling actually originated in Germany during 300 A.D. as a religious ceremony introduced by monks that was a test of faith. However, there is evidence of bowling throughout England as well during different time periods. In the mid-1300s, there were various versions of the sport played throughout the nation. These included half-bowls, skittles, and ninepin. The first documented record of bowling comes from King Edward III in 1366; he banned the game among his armies due to it becoming a distraction from their duties. Later, the game picked up popularity during the rule of Henry VIII. It was used as a sign of nobility as well as social standing.
In the seventeenth century, German, English, and Dutch settlers brought their versions of the game over with them to the Americas. In 1895, Joe Thum brought together regional bowling clubs and formed the American Bowling Congress, which brought standardization among rules as well as competitions. However, this congress was only open to men, and women formed their own organization known as the Women’s International Bowling Congress in 1917.
Today, different versions of bowling are present throughout the world. In the United States, we have traditional ten-pin, candlestick bowling in New England, and other cultural versions. It has also entered the video game market on consoles such as the Nintendo Wii.