Pins scatter as they fall after being struck by a bowling ball
Pins scatter as they fall after being struck by a bowling ball in 1951.Mark Kauffman–Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Pins scatter as they fall after being struck by a bowling ball
A bowler leans his body in the direction of the ball.
A bowler makes facial expressions and wiggles his body in hopes of shifting the ball while watching his ball roll down the lane.
A man watches his ball roll down the lane with a cigar hanging from his mouth.
Pat Patterson kneels down on one knee as he watches his ball roll down the lane.
Thiluia Barker finishes bowling her turn with a grimace.
Art Gebhart covers his eyes after releasing the ball.
United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Joe Falcaro in midair, 1940.
Women's Bowling Champion Catherine Fellmeth is pictured mid-windup.
Twinkle Watts, a child bowler and ice skater, is pictured mid-stride
A female bowling team member wears a shirt representing her team and sponsor.
Bowler Phyllis Mercer is pictured as she releases the ball down the lane.
Mercer turns frustratedly away from the lane after watching her ball miss the pins.
Florence Wilson and other women at a bowling alley in Teaneck, New Jersey, in 1947.
Men cheer a fellow team member's shot at a bowling alley.
Women bowl in two of the four bowling alleys located under the chapel of New York's Riverside Church.
Dorothy Crouch, balanced on one foot at the end of her stride, releases the ball in a preliminary match during a nine-day championship tournament.
Marion Ladewig, the "Queen of Bowling," dabs at her eyes after losing a championship tournament.
Women at a bowling alley bar celebrate their high-scoring game with a round of drinks.
Women are pictured in a beauty shop adjoining the Cotton Bowl lanes, for the benefit of women bowlers who can have their hair set between games.
Children play with a plastic bowling ball and pins, provided in order to prevent them from interrupting their mothers as they bowl, at a nursery at the Hart Bowl
Archers shoot arrows alongside bowlers at the Sunnyside Bowl
An apprentice geisha in a kimono and full make-up smiles as she bowls on a lane, watched by several other geisha in Kyoto, Japan.
A bowler watches his ball approach the pins.
Pins scatter as they fall after being struck by a bowling ball in 1951.
Mark Kauffman–Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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Roll Another One: LIFE Goes Bowling

Oct 20, 2013

There's a lot to be said for bowling. It's loud. It involves a kind of controlled violence. It requires strength, coordination and genuine technique. And it's damn fun.

Here, for no other reason than we like the sport and because the pictures are pretty cool, LIFE.com presents photographs of men, women and kids bowling. Some of the bowlers are serious. Some are what we might call hobbyists. Some are clearly awful. But what they all share is the evident desire to smash the pins. To make that improbable spare. To nail a convincing, resounding, unmistakable strike.

Ready to roll?

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