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Beginner’s Luck (1) : As proof that ‘Providence protects children and idiots’, Mark Twain recalls his first taste of ten-pin bowling.
Beginner’s Luck
Part one

Abridged from ‘Chapters from My Autobiography’ by Mark Twain (1835-1910).

Mark Twain was invited by fellow office-workers to go bowling with them. He declined as he knew nothing of the game, but now they seemed so anxious for his company that he was rather flattered, and gave in.

I WAS given an alley all to myself. The boys explained the game to me, and they also explained to me that there would be an hour’s play, and that the player who scored the fewest ten-strikes in the hour would have to provide oysters and beer for the combination.

This disturbed me very seriously, since it promised me bankruptcy, but my pride would not allow me to back out now, so I did what I could to look satisfied and glad I had come. It is not likely that I looked as contented as I wanted to, but the others looked glad enough to make up for it, for they were quite unable to hide their evil joy. They showed me how to stand, and how to aim the ball, and how to let fly; and then the game began.

The results were astonishing. During half an hour I never started a ball down the alley that didn’t score a ten-strike, every time, at the other end.

Abridged from ‘Chapters from My Autobiography’ by Mark Twain (1835-1910).

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Mark Twain (2) Extracts from Literature (93)

Picture: By William M. Vander Weyde (1871–1929), via George Eastman House Collection and Wikimedia Commons. Licence: No known copyright restrictions. View original
Two women bowling, circa 1900. Twain dated his initiation into the game of bowling to 1865, ten years before the National Bowling Association in New York began setting standards for ten-pin bowling. The world’s first indoor bowling alley, Knickerbockers, had been built there in 1840.
By Mark Twain

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