The season nears as does the hall of fame

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

I was listening to The Dan Patrick show recently and they went down a trail that they travel from time to time. “Who has had the greatest career and whose career what you rather have or have had?”

The who’s in this case do not really matter. What did matter on that day was how rarely if at all that those who were mentioned ever put themselves above the sport that they were involved in! In short that regardless of how good any of us may have felt that these players may be and the game was bigger and that the game would have and will outlive any of them.

Bowling was not mentioned on that show but it could have been as we have seen some sensational bowlers in our area houses on league nights and of course we have had the influx of the professional stars at Delphos, Coldwater and Wapakoneta. The game will outlive them all. Likewise the game is bigger than those of us who we write about it.

The summer season has concluded at different locations in our area. In some cases leagues were held, while others took the opportunities to open for recreational bowling. Still others locked the doors for the summer to work on machines that had caused some headaches during the bowling season. One house only kind of closed, Southgate Lanes in Bluffton, seemingly opening only to raise funds for special needs in that community. Hats off to you Derek and the Bean.

20th Century as was noted last week did a modest imitation of Juggs in Toledo. The summer heat produced at least 10 perfect games and a half dozen 800 series before Drew Ambroza conquered Jim Thorbin in the finals of the Challenge League for that crown. TaSean Peters and Brent Jones who rolled well all season rounded out the top four.

What was great about watching this league this summer is that the bowlers knew that it was not preparing them for the rigors of the PBA – it was summer and it was time for some fun and competition.

Once upon a time this was the week of the PBA but things have changed over the last two to three years as the event in Coldwater has gained in popularity with many of the professionals. This will be the third season that the winner of the Coldwater Regional will get credit for a tour title. Although I loved the old days of Lefeld Implement, I am on fire with the fact that Doug Davidson of Moxy Ball and the had naming rights this season. Davidson loves the game and the folks in it – glad to see his brand get some recognition.

Rick Hartings did share at a recent meeting that I attended that they are already at the 96 bowler limit that is set for the event and that there will be two bowlers in the field this season for the first time. Fan favorites and multi-time champions Norm Duke and Chris Barnes will be making the trip this year. Who knows maybe one day Jason Belmonte will make the trip as well as the return of PDW – Pete Weber to those who may be new to the professional side of things.

Remember too, there will be a PBA50 event that closes things down for that week. I still think it would be a great thing if there was bonus points or bonus dollars based on standings between Coldwater and Delphos.

Roy Buckley made a recent visit to 20th Century looking to see if his old friend Don Boyed may have been around. His presence reminded me that the Delphos PBA50 that started it all for our area is coming in September. He shared that it is a lot more fun bowling three or four games on league night than rolling twelve games if you make it to the semi-finals of those events. He laughed as he shared that he will stay retired.

When I think of the Dan Patrick show I cannot help but to think of our own Hall of Fame ceremonies that are coming up September 14th at the Lima Eagles Lodge #370.

The debate that they were having on the morning was the Hall of Fame candidacy of the oft criticized Eli Manning.

The group seemingly ended up with the following point of view. When you write the story of the era in which an athlete competed can you write of that era without including the player in question? Other individuals mentioned on that morning for example were Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds – missed the end of the show as I had to get into work.

Interestingly enough this season we have the issue double covered with our inductees. The statistics that Onalee Shepler and Jason Moneer have put up over their relative short careers are more than enough for their induction.

The ‘Patrick Criteria’ also applies. When this current era is put to rest will it be possible to speak of bowling accomplishments at Westgate Lanes without mentioning the name of Moneer?

The same can be said for Onalee. When we speak of the dominant ladies of this era or dominant scoring [as in the case of Moneer as well] – will it be possible to have that conversation without Onalee being mentioned?

The questions of course are rhetorical.

It does lead to an interesting thought. The current method of the Lima USBC Hall of Fame committee to determine inductees has always been to hide the names of the nominees to assure they are inducted on merit and not who they are.

Maybe for one season they could move away from that method – perhaps come up with a new category – the State of Ohio for instance uses a category referred to as Pioneer. They could even name a new committee for this purpose only and maybe only for one season to review names of the past that have always been a huge and important part of our sport over the last 50 years.

Dan Patrick and his crew would love the notion.

Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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