Special moments from the lanes


Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



I still remember the moment as clearly as if it were the last time we were able to pick up a ball at the lanes. It was lanes 17 and 18 at 20th Century Lanes.

The night had gone like any other night for me, more marginal shots than good or bad as I worked to maintain my 175 average that was … well actually a little above average for that time.

I was sitting with teammate Tobe Cardone. We were chuckling some as we ‘reviewed’ our team’s matchup from earlier in the evening – reflecting some on how the iconic Cardone had actually dropped a ball near the approach when a competitor had taken too long in delivering his shot.

The conversation turned to how the bowlers of the day were not necessarily happy when they could not score well. I can still hear Tobe’s voice as I recall his words – “You know Jack I wish that I would have stayed with my original name for the lanes - - I was going to call it Melody Lanes so the bowlers could leave singing the blues.”

Many if not all of us are struggling right now. I miss being behind the counter at 20th. I miss the smiles after the good shots and the good scores. I miss Cheryl Corwin and or Dick Mowery going “Toot Toot” after a strike or a good shot.

I was actually bummed until the memory of Tobe came into my mind. It was quickly followed by great times and memories of Moreo Lanes of bowling with the best team in the world – (Keith) Henson’s Remodeling with Keith, Steve Frueh, Dave Cook, Greg ‘Kraut’ Baumgardner, Lloyd Hight and Rob Rigali. In the recesses of my mind were the partial tales of the “Gators” of Southgate and the championship wars of Coldwater and Wapakoneta.

It became very clear to me that we all have our stories. Clearly those stories are much more prevalent at this time than strikes, spares, jackpots, brackets, doughnuts, coffee and bowling alley fine eats at the present time.

Please send me those stories and we will print them here. The rules are simple – they cannot defame another bowler and they obviously must meet community decency standards as this is a family paper. [please 600 words or less]

The alternative is that I will be contacting the likes of John Dailey, Randy and Joe Schroeder, Bruce Vanmetre and Steve Frueh who I trust will have many tales to tell.

The Fifth Annual Smith Scholarship Shootout …

Suffice it to say that this event will be held next season. I can only imagine the room when this decision was made. While the governor certainly gave it a

push by closing the lanes, I believe it is a decision that the family would have made anyway. The respect that they have for the game is only distanced by the love that they have for the people in it, especially the children.

I have always respected and enjoyed Robert Sr. and what he has meant to the game, especially the youth. Robert Jr. is working hard to follow in those massive footprints. The bumper league that he is working to develop at 20th is sheer genius. I really anticipate that it will triple if not quadruple by next season. Clearly Robert serves our youth. If the board is looking for somebody to fill that roll for them he would be a great choice.

The USBC Lima is at a standstill …

Speaking of the board it has indeed been quite a year. There is still work to be done to include what to with this season’s Jessica Sanford Tournament. The tourney was almost bowled as scheduled. The event had around 40 youth registered which would have fit the governor’s guidelines at the time. The obvious issue is that when youth bowl events such as this parents, grandparents, friends, coaches of others sports even – love you Coach Truxal – appear and before you know it the numbers are over the assigned limit.

I am not sure who ultimately pulled the plug but it was the right choice.

It will be back bigger and stronger as is the case of the Smith Shootout.

Jesse Owsley for mayor or commissioner of something …

I can still remember when I first met Christy and Jesse Owsley after a brilliant tournament performance. Christy clearly stole the show that day while it was a coming out party for Jesse within the bowling world.

Jesse is going for a bigger win now as he is starting a movement within the community of Bluffton to see what can be done to help those struggling in that community. I hunger for clear days so Derek and the Bean and the crew at Southgate can jump in and help this happen.

Please send me your stories

Please send me your stories . I sincerely want to print them. I pledge $20 that I will earn from the story that you send to a charity in your community that you want to assist. My address is hammill@wcoil.com or you can send them to the Lima News care of me.

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Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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