Bowlers and fans of the game make a difference

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

Sometimes there are things that just stick in my mind as I reflect upon comments or actions of individuals in this game or sport depending on how you view what folks do when they head to the lanes.

One of the more recent thoughts that just will not go away is the conversation that I had with Jerry Johnson, a former director of the USBC Lima Bowling Association. If you are a regular reader of these pages you will recall that Junior, as he is affectionately referred to by many in the bowling world commented on the fact that bowling is so much more than a game or a sport, it is a collection of individuals who simply care about one another.

In that conversation he mentioned how the community, bowlers and non bowlers came together to meet the needs of Joel Schwartz, Cameron Patrick and Bill Harman among others when that need was greater than what friends and family could address. I had the occasion this past week to run into Bill and the wonderful Deb Laudick this past week. The love that they felt from what Junior and our community have provided for them to this day cannot be measured. While Joel is officiating sports, making a difference in 4H and meeting the needs of his family and while Cameron is back to competing on the athletic fields, Bill still has some distance to walk on his journey.

One of the great benefits to working at a bowling establishment is that it is easy to see the camaraderie that grows at the very least between team members. In some cases it is a healthy competition and in other cases it is more about the opportunity to spend quality time with one another for a period or a season of the year or of life. The friendships or relationships that develop as a result very often lead to life long friendships, relationships and even marriages. As Johnson reflected in our conversation, we end up doing life together. We do what we can to be helpful to each other. It is clearly what drives the Jr. Johnsons Mike Melvins and Chris Sanfords of the world.

Maybe that is the same type of drive that I have for the two favors that I am going to ask from my readers. I assure you in advance that in each case you will not have to give any thing significantly other that perhaps some time and in each case you will either feel a sense of satisfaction for doing a good thing or even having some fun.

I met Lee McConnell several decades ago when I wandered into 20th Century Lanes to watch my mother bowl in the St John’s Ladies League. My mother had always spoken with great respect for her. I am blessed in that I have never lost my vision of that first meeting. I remember that I had picked up a bowling ball and did not have it gripped correctly. On that day she showed me how to hold the ball. I honestly believe that without that day this column may never have come to pass.

Over the years since she has demonstrated to me how to treat others with dignity and respect. I have never seen her treat anybody with anything less. She is a true icon of the sport in our community. She is a lady of incredible grace.

Our wonderful friend is also in her final days. She will soon be reunited with her husband Clay, my mother and countless other friends.

It would be wonderful if we could shower her with our love in the form of cards. In my years of doing this I have never really asked this meaningful of a favor. Just find a card, no postage will be necessary, add a message if you would like, seal the envelope or not and drop the cards off at 20th Century. We will see that the cards are delivered. I am sure that they will be appreciated.

The second favor would be for each of you to check your calendars to see if you are available for Saturday October 27th. On that evening there will be a benefit at 20th Century for Frankie and Duke Burden the young daughter and son of Nick Burden.

Many of us lost a family member or friend when Nick went to God but Frankie and Duke lost a father. We cannot replace Nick with a benefit but we can do something tangible for the kids, perhaps impact their educational futures.

It will be Monte Carlo Night with not only the colored pins that go along with it. It does not end there. There will be raffles for designer purses, door prizes as well as discounts on some of the best pizza in our area.

There may even be a chance to see a front quarter panel from the race car of Nick’s favorite driver, Eddie Pearson from the recent World 100 at Eldora … nice job JJ Miller and thanks to you Eddie Pearson.

It will give you a chance to have fun while making a difference.

Come and join the fun.

See you there..

Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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