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Local bowling: Hall of fame inductees weave a unique tapestry

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Updated: January 4, 2013 6:18AM



HAMMOND — As the Greater Calumet Area Bowling Association hosted its first merged hall of fame and awards banquet on Sunday at Dynasty Banquet Hall, its first wave of hall of fame inductees shared some interesting commonalities.

Formally inducted were Mike Kubacki, Colleen Lidster, Jerry Michalak, Gary Purcell, Jan Schmidt, and Barb Ward.

For Michalak, the association’s bowler of the year in 2002-03, he’s excelled in both performance and service at Plaza Lanes and others houses in the region.

“I can’t believe that I’m part of this group,” Michalak said. “and a well-respected group at that.”

Michalak has bowled and worked for years at Plaza Lanes where Ward has been league secretary for multiple leagues for more than 40 years, as well as supervising thousands of young bowlers as head of the youth program.

Schmidt, who has garnered a large part of her success outside the region living in Naperville, Ill., started her career in the Northwest Indiana. In fact, a ball she used to roll a 300 was drilled by pro shop aficionado Mark Kofoid — his first 300 ball.

“I grew up at Plaza Lanes, and of course I knew Barb very well,” Schmidt said. “Now she’s coaching my cousin and second cousin.”

Even inductee Gary Purcell, who was the association’s senior bowler of the year in 2007, bowled for years in the Saturday Goodtimers League at Plaza, as well as at Stardust III in Dyer — where keynote speaker Diandra Asbaty began her bowling career in the late 1980s.

“I’m not much of speech writer,” Purcell admitted. “I asked my daughter to write my speech and she said no.”

Lidster, who has spent years coaching youth and high school bowlers in the same way that her brother (Kubacki) has done in recent years, couldn’t resist asking a question regarding her induction since her speech technically came before her brother’s.

“Does this mean I’m inducted before my brother?” said Lidster to a hearty laugh from the audience.

Kubacki, who used how bowling impacted his life as a motivation to charge the hall of famers and prominent bowlers in the room to remember the youth and consider ways of giving back to the sport, also offered a light question to the audience.

“How come (association president and hall of fame member) Mike Kozy has so much more hair than I do?” Kubacki asked. “It simply isn’t fair. Mike, maybe you have my (lucky) horseshoe after all. We have the same initials. Did you pick it up?”

Also honored were the GCABA bowlers of the year: Super Senior bowlers Evon Fortenberry and Georgia Henderson; Senior bowlers of the year Tim Bales and Janee Babbitt; and bowlers of the year Kevin Mikalouski and Camila Trevino Jr.



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