Time to hand out some superior ratings

We have used the word elite a great deal lately in reference to the world of bowling. Generally we have focused on the superior performances of the truly great bowlers in our community or at the least their capabilities.

My friends with Oxford offer the following definition of the word … a select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities …

It is that word qualities that we need to spend a little more time with today! When we take a deeper look what greater traits to we see in some people that would surpass their ability to knock down pins?

When I first considered this column a few weeks ago, there was any number of people who came to mind, although one individual has always been the frontrunner. We will get to that person shortly!

Amongst the elite in the sport in our area would have to be the great number of individuals who give up their Saturdays and two or three or more other days throughout the week to coach the high school teams in our area. The hours that go into this venture paired with the travel up and down the highways and snowy and icy back-roads is clearly a labor of love.

In many cases it is an opportunity to connect with their own children or family members … ‘we would have been there anyway’ … but for others it is the opportunity to give back to a game that they love.

When I think of the high school side of things, I cannot help but to think of Tom Sifrit who would love to see Perry High School have a team at some time. Sifrit is truly elite. He is yet another that simply wants to give back to the game. He is active on the LBA Board and I do not remember an event at 20th where he has not been there to pitch in and help the kids out.

This is not even to mention the happiness that he has brought to children in different hospitals while meeting the needs of his grandson Cameron Patrick.

What qualities do you want in a friend or perhaps more especially a fellow team member?

I would hope that the traits that you search are more than somebody with pockets deep enough to buy your favorite adult beverage or whose spouse makes the best cookies.

I have two of the greatest part time jobs in the world. I have the opportunity to write this column and to work the counter at 20th Century Lanes. In each case I have had the opportunity to meet some great people. I have seen the frustrations when 200 is not reached and the immense smiles when a bowler tops 100 or sets a new personal high as Seth Nickles and Jacob Helser did this last weekend in high school play.

To my knowledge nobody has ever called Deb Franks and elite bowler but recently she has used her times at the lanes to subtly share God’s message. Some will not see that as elite I guess but God will.

My list could go on for quite awhile. In recent columns we have paid homage to different individuals and we will continue to do so throughout the season.

Early in this column I shared that there is on individual who just keeps coming into my focus when this column was considered. He is a very humble individually who has done so much for so many not only in our community but in other locales.

Jr. Johnson is a very special individual. I had a chat recently with Bill Harman who spoke with love of many in our community. It was a conversation loaded with love and tears and thanks to individuals such as Sue and Gary Clay, the Johnston brothers and obviously his better half Deb Laudick etc.

The love and the respect that he has for Jr. came through very strong the more time we spent together.

I have been blessed to spend a relatively modest amount of time with him recently as well and the compassion that he has for others is very apparent. The humility of the man is also most apparent and if this mini tribute embarrasses you in any way, I am indeed sorry.

As we enter the days of Christmas the spirit of Jr. is one that is so fitting for the season.

Title IX is alive and very well in high school bowling …

There was an upset of sorts at 20th Century Lanes this past Saturday as Lima Central Catholic upended one of the traditional powers of the conference, if not the state, Wapakoneta.

I am not sure what made the upset the most noteworthy, the fact that four Riepenhoff youth rolled incredibly well for the T-Birds or that two of them were exceptional young ladies. Their 3039 – 2968 victory was even more noteworthy as they also would have handled Shawnee and were only 16 pins off the score of Celina who recently captured the OHSAA Kickoff Classic.

Kevin Decker, the head coach of Van Wert was loaded with praise for not only the efforts of LCC but also the skill-sets of many of the young ladies of the Lima based schools in the WOHSBC and the WBL.

Decker is more than correct.

Looking at this in alphabetical order, Dayle Aldrich, Abbey Ambroza, Allie Meeker, Cecilia and Hannah Riepenhoff, Jordyn Stewart, Bryana and Morgan Twining would certainly be a great eight for any coach to have the opportunity to coach. [Aldrich, Ambroza and Meeker roll for Shawnee, the Riepenhoff duo for LCC, Stewart for Elida, Bryana for Bath and Morgan for Lima Senior High.]

It would be interesting to see how they could do against the better boy teams. Hmmm maybe something that could be accomplished this off season?

Merry Christmas to each of you … if looking for a church this season, please join me at Lima Community Church of the Nazarene.


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