What can I say…


Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



This has been an incredible season on the lanes.

It has been loaded with so many events and stories and even added stories created within my own mind. Sadly it has led to me missing some points of interest to many – and for that I do feel bad. Interestingly enough however I have always said that if you have something that you want in print feel free to get in contact with me through the Lima News or hammill@wcoil.com.

Let me lead with an upcoming tournament that I do wish was going to at least drift some into the evening. The event will be held at Highland Lanes on April 27th and will prove interesting. The ENIGMA will be rolled on that day and work commitments will keep me away. I trust that it will be an amazing day and must add that if people are wise they will sample the fine cuisine at the lanes. Take this as my apology in advance for not being in attendance.

Last week I apologized to Jason Moneer and Brent Jones for missing their double 300 games and I have had the chance to do it in person as well. I cannot believe either gaffe. They are both good men and ironically enough the effort of Moneer was chronicled in another column once before.

We do have a lot to be thankful for in our bowling community. The different boards in our community go over-board in planning events for their members. While this page has been a little more aggressive in publishing the dates of those events in Lima, things will improve next season. The same goes for Delphos, Wapak and the Vic Sockrider Travel League. Interestingly enough the latter is managed by one of my favorite human beings, JJ Miller and it has received minimal coverage in the time of its existence. Clearly there was nothing intentional in my lack of coverage in those realms.

I continue to be impressed with the efforts of Robert T Smith and the Smith Family Foundation as it continues to grow. I can only hope that sometime in the future a youth comes back to him and thanks him for the impact of the efforts of his family. Drew Sacks of Vandalia Butler High School was victorious on this past Sunday in the big kid division of this season’s edition. I will follow though and talk to our local youth when I have that list. In the meantime nice job once again Robert and family.

The toughest hill to climb is in getting better at keeping up with the creativity of our local proprietors and their staffs. Wapakoneta and one of my better friends, Brian Vanmeter continues to come up with fund raising activities for his bowlers. The Special Olympics of Auglaize County are at the top of the list but benefits to offset medical cost of his folks that roll there has also been major. He has deserved added press for me as well.

Southgate Lanes the, land of Derek and The Bean, continue to come up with some of the more creative adventures probably in the state of Ohio. We are one week away from my write-up on The Last Barley Memorial – perhaps a schedule of what else is going on at the lanes this upcoming summer.

All this brings me to Delphos, the very core of where I wish I had done a better job and where my larger apologies may be due.

It is difficult at times to keep up with the efforts of Bruce Vanmetre but when you add Taylor Booth and Scott Scalf to program development it gets even harder. No excuses – I did share on social media at times.

I am starting to think that we need a huge calendar of local bowling events … for me I am buying an appointment book – something I thought I would no longer need after leaving my job in social work.

The toughest gaffe for me this season was my under-coverage of the Lima City Singles. It certainly did not have anything to do with schedule conflict – I was there – or lack of love for the winners.

I also sat close as the battle was waged between men’s champion Todd Book and everyone’s favorite Phil Austin … like virtually everyone in the house I hurt for Phil as this title got away. Book remains a great story in this as well. Many have felt that he does not take this event seriously but as I watched him after the event, it just felt that the respect had grown. I vowed to ask him when we spoke. We did not meet … we will at some point.

It was in the haze of the wrap up of the City Singles that I had what arguably was my one of my two major mistakes of the season.

Chris Mahlie is an incredible young lady. She is family! she is my God-child! The only way I would have been happier on the ladies side of things on that day would have been if my daughter, Kari Miller or Shelly Ambroza would have claimed that title.

I honestly thought that Chris and I would speak at some time … my mistake and clearly not hers. I do thank Jim Thorbin for bringing my error to my attention. Chris I do owe you … there is not an excuse. Arguably the mantle of the best person to never win the City Singles has been lifted. Uncle Jack congratulated you that day … but it should have been in greater print.

Do you realize that there have been more occasions in the last two years of bowlers rolling two 300 games in the same set than there have been 300 games by a lady.

This certainly makes the performance of Nicole Early of Delphos even more noteworthy for the 300 that she rolled earlier this season. Certainly happy that it has at least gotten this mention before you roll your next one. Congrats.

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Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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