Everything Candlepin


A History Lesson From Kenj

Being only 34, I’ve missed A LOT of candlepin bowling on TV, in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada.  I got an email when I first started this little adventure from Loretta and Ken up in Canada about adding a term to the glossary which we have.  I know my Friday night teams gets annoyed when I scream “julian” for back door anything, but they deserve to be annoyed.

I got a little history lesson from Kenj, and I’d like to share that with you. I hope that this is something that becomes a recurring theme here at Everything Candlepin, and that’s not directed at Kenj specifically, it’s aimed at everyone that’s a fan and has something to share.  If someone has a story they think the candlepin bowling world should hear about, feel free to send it along to me at rlimone@everythingcandlepin.com.

Teams For the Hall of Fame:

There may never be a Nova Scotian in the Candlepin Hall of Fame.  There has been many a great roller from this farthest point east, that candlepin has reached. However we, Bluenosers have been very lax record keepers. Wilbur Martell owner of an alley in Halifax once held the Candlepin Record [high] single of 213, done on wooden pins. Back in his day there were few tournaments and the closest thing to a World’s was likely the Maritime and Eastern Maine Tournament. In 1905 The Bottle Pin Trophy was donated by the Brunswick Balke-Collender Company for this tournament and the original was replaced in 1932 with a new shiny replica, that was played for up into the mid-sixties. I can’t tell you when the US teams finally dropped out but I can tell you that Houlton, Maine won the trophy twice, and the last record for the tournament being held in Houlton that I have was in 1956;  Eastport Maine Browns won three times and Calais Maine one time; these numbers dwarf for The Saint John Blacks won this award twenty-one times.

One day perhaps the Hall will honor teams and records like this which are documented will prevail.

Other Nova Scotians worthy of recognition might include Jack James and Gerry Levy; their exploits are still spoken of and in the mid sixties both travelled to Bangor for a World’s Singles event and finished second and third; Jack lost by a single pin and Gerry was six back.  Jack spoke on television that he felt Gerry had been cheated of the victory being called on a lob that robbed him of an eight count on a spare; in Jack’s words; “…no one in Nova Scotia could ever say that Gerry had lobbed a ball in his life…”

When I became proficient enough to be on a Tournament team, and being a “terrible fan” of our game, I made sure to look at the records boards in every alley I went in; all of those built prior to 1969 the high singles and triples were all held by Gerry Levy. Most of those buildings have long since been torn down, made into parking lots, shopping malls and their records ?

Teams from Halifax, Nova Scotia have impressive records in the modern World’s Tournament, their individual stars have earned solid reputations in the candlepin world but unless they’ve maintained flawless scrapbooks they’ll never see their names nominated, there’s no governing body keeping any records for these chaps here. Their individual exploits are ripples on the water that fade in memory and like the water that returns to a mirror-like appearance they are gone. My advice to all local up and comers – keep your own records, score sheets, press clippings; never know someday some old geezer like me might want to nominate you – and we’ll need proof that you were that good.

I really appreciate the email and I think it’s great to get a glimpse into Canada.  I hope this email is the start of something that can be a regular occurrence on Everything Candlepin.  Keep them coming folks, and I hope to hear from you soon.

I received a second email shortly after with some trivia from Kenj for added information and some humor.

Bowling once became so popular in England that in 1366 King Edward III passed a law to forbid the people from playing it. He was afraid that men wouldn’t spend enough time practicing their archery skills which was so important to the military of the day.

Sir Francis Drake must have believed in pleasure before business because he insisted on finishing his game of bowling before sailing off to destroy the Spanish Armada in 1588.

There are written records that go back to the year 300 AD that show that bowling occurred in the Monasteries of Europe. People often carried clubs in those days and the Priests as a teaching aid would stand the club up a distance away and tell the peasants it stood for the evil of the devil and they were given a large stone to roll at the club. If the peasant hit the club he was praised but if he missed he was told to go and lead a better life. This took hold of the people who soon were practicing “bowling”.

Tell everyone to think of this on their next nine pin break!

Hope to hear from Kenj again as well as other writers out there!

Article submitted by Ken Jollymore, fellow fan of bowling up in Nova Scotia, Canada to everythingcandlepin.com

 October 17th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Guest Author, Resources  
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