This Video Uncovers the Complexity of Oil on a Bowling Lane

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The eccentricities of a bowling lane aren’t something that most people think about, but it’s a surprisingly interesting subject. In a new video from Vox, you’ll find yourself watching seven solid minutes about “the hidden oil patterns on bowling lanes,” and somehow, it isn’t at all boring!

Vox, along with professional bowler Phil Edwards shows us how different bowling alleys have various oil patterns laid out purposefully on their lanes. For one thing, the substance keeps the wooden lanes in better condition, but it also changes how one’s ball rolls toward the end of the lane. Bowling alleys usually give players the advantage with patterns that help move the ball along toward hitting the pins and away from the gutters, but professional bowlers have other patterns to contend with.

According to the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) website, there are eight distinct oil patterns, all of which with cool creature names: Badger, Bear, Wolf, Viper, Shark, Scorpion, Chameleon, and Cheetah. Each have different applications that will impact how quickly the ball will move and in what direction.

If you want to show off some sporty knowledge the next time you’re invited out for a night of bowling, check out the video below.