Unearthing treasures


Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



I have recently moved and in doing so I have had the occasion to uncover some items that left me with a comparable feeling as when an archeologist unearths valuable artifacts or treasures.

Certainly I am not claiming that it is anything as valuable as King Tuts tomb or Oak Island amazing finds but in the realm of bowling they were interesting at the least to me none the less.

There were pictures of friends and family, old newspaper articles written by me and others, patches that were formerly awarded by the ABC and the WIBC, score-sheets and even an anniversary edition of a Sports Hall of Fame. Each have now been dusted off and will be honored in a location in the hope that this incredible find will never be duplicated.

One of my favorite finds actually rekindled a passion that I have for our community, one that I used to push for every couple of years or so on these very pages. It is time again for yet another push.

The find was a program of sorts for the Renkert- Belden Home in Canton, Ohio. We have similar homes in our community but this home is even more special than many of ours. It has been converted into the Greater Canton Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.

I had the pleasure of touring it in 1999, proven by a request for membership card in the front portion of the program. The home was amazing, even if not being used in a manner that the Renkerts or Beldens had in mind in the glory days of Canton.

There were rooms for every amateur sport one could imagine from bowling to swimming to something called fumbleball which seemed like the equivalent of blooper ball on steroids.

I would hope that 20 years later that the home is still in existence and can only imagine the names that have been memorialized there.

I find myself amazed still that there have not really been any efforts made here to do the same for those deserving in our own community. We may never find a home like the one in Canton but I cannot believe that we cannot find a benefactor who loves sports who could give us or build us a building say in an area near the museum.

Is it a good idea? I say the answer to that is easy. What if I were to say to you to name the person who has had the greatest impact on sports in our area, would that individual or individuals be worthy of a permanent place of honor?

What if I was to say, what professional hometown hero would we first honor? How about the best in tennis, golf and of course bowling? Who can tell me how our sports legends are honored now and where and why those plaques are placed where they are?

The time has come and I am old enough to be a volunteer docent even?

It was just the other day that I had a conversation with how I enjoyed time that I had spent with one of our local bowling legends from back in the day. I must say I never heard her whisper on the lanes or during the conversations that we had as she was in the latter years of her life.

Remembering individuals such as ‘Whispering Lil’ Schwertfeger would be one of the better reason for a physical Hall of Fame. I was flattered when we met that she remembered me and had actually kept a good share of the columns that I had written. She playfully (with a wink and whisper) asked that I not talk to nice about her however so as to not ruin the image individuals have of her. She gave me for safe keeping some of her honor patches and such and they have now been passed on to the LBA.

There were also newspaper articles written from London to Westgate and 20th Century Lanes to Rainbow Lanes chronicling my first meeting with Dr. Dan Ross and the immediate respect he had for the state of high school bowling prior to it being handed off by the proprietors to the OHSAA.

One of the news articles that jumped out of an old photo album was by one of my predecessors, Tom Bruns in 1991 who chronicled the first bowler of the year honor for then Kari Hammill. The names that rolled out of that article must never be lost, Eva Peppers, Teri Custer, Deb Laudick, Tammy Phillips should last forever.

There was a great score sheet of note that will be on display at some point in the study at the new home showing a great team night for the original Henson Remodeling team paced by one of the greatest men of the game Keith Henson.

Speaking of valuable treasures, there are time that it does not take a memory bank to bring back the joys and great moments in ones life. Sometimes it is a granddaughter that can do the trick instead much as the simply amazing Olivia Miller did this past weekend.

Most of you are aware that if you want to find me on most any Saturday around noon or so that it will be at 20th Century Lanes either working or watching my grandchildren, Olivia or Alek bowl – as well as the other rising stars that call 20th home on Saturdays.

Some of you even know that I have never seen my daughter Kari roll a perfect game or 800 set although she has a bounty of each.

Olivia took a page out of her mothers book as the 13 year old darling of the lanes rolled games of 209, 237 and 258 for a blistering 704 while I was off watching Ohio State own Michigan almost as well as she owned the lanes.

I assure you I will catch at the very least her first 300 game.

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Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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