Things are a little smaller at Glen Burnie Bowling Center, though the facility itself encompasses 30 lanes and a full-service snack bar, named GB Ducks Cafe. The petite objects in question are the pins and balls themselves. Glen Burnie celebrates the tradition of duckpin bowling, which incorporates lighter pins and smaller, easy-to-throw balls that almost never hatch into dragons. The objects collide during league games and open play. The smaller equipment also accommodates kids, and young bowlers can start playing in leagues as early as four years old. The coaches and instructors who oversee these programs hold certifications from the National Duckpin Youth Association.
Major League Bocce began for many of the same reasons anyone plays bocce ball: the founders were looking for a way to enjoy the social aspect of organized sports, but with less of an athletic component and preferably with a drink in hand. Since forging that modest alliance of close-knit friends in 2004, the company has reached for ever higher goals. Each season, they donate a portion of their registration fees to local charities, and the prize for each winning team is a donation to the charity of their choice. This has added up to more than $100,000 in donations throughout the company's 10-year existence. Like a house spider when your back is turned, the company is swiftly growing—8,000 players now participate not only in Washington D.C., but also Philadelphia, Bethesda, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Boston.
Ballyhooed by both Baltimore magazine and City Paper, Stoneleigh Lanes sets the scene for friendly bowling battles in a retro 16-lane alley. Strikers lace up rented kicks and hurl three-hole balls at 10 ivory duckpins. Sixteen-inch cheesy pizzas hush fifth-frame tummy grumbles, and sudsy pitchers of soda quench postpizza thirsts. The alley's BYOB policy lets bowlers imbibe brews brought from home, clearing out refrigerator space to be used for snowball storage. Handwritten scoring and gravity-feed ball returns enhance the spot’s retro charm.