Local bowling: Bowling means the world to Diandra Asbaty
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent December 11, 2012 6:46PM
Updated: January 13, 2013 11:12AM
To say bowling has made a world of difference in the life of Diandra Asbaty is an understatement.
Asbaty, a Dyer native who the patrons fondly remember as Diandra Hyman from her years of nightly practices and youth leagues at Stardust Bowl III in the 1980s and 90s, has visited 36 countries, won titles on five continents, including 60 international medals and six world titles — all because of bowling.
And yet, Asbaty, who was the featured speaker at the Greater Calumet Area Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet on Dec. 2 in Hammond, said the region would always be home to her.
“I always promised myself that no matter where I go or what I do, I will never, ever forget where I came from,” Asbaty said. “The Calumet Region is very special for me. When I’m here, I feel like I’m at home.”
Asbaty started bowing at age 5 because of her grandmother, who gave her and sister, Kassy, their first bowling balls. She said she learned winning from Kassy and her parents, who supported their daughters and gave them the chance to pursue their dreams.
“Now, as a parent, I cannot imagine allowing my kids to do what they allowed us to do,” Asbaty admitted. “In middle and high school we would wake up at 7 a.m. After school, we would take a nap and do homework. Dad would come home from work and take us to practice — at 9:30 p.m. until midnight. We had to wait for the leagues to finish. But we weren’t allowed to maintain that schedule if we didn’t maintain our grades.”
It was those nightly practices — every night of the week — at Stardust III where Asbaty honed her skills and where she “struck gold” when she met future coach Dick Tucker. Later, Asbaty had a storied career at the University of Nebraska, where she was the school’s athlete of the year and a two-time MVP while leading her team to two national championships.
Her desire to be the best also led to her selection to Team USA, of which she has been a member for 14 years. Also a USBC silver level coach, Asbaty has been named World Bowler of the Year twice and was inducted into the World Bowling Hall of fame. Just this year, she won the USBC Queens, defeating legend Carolyn Dorin-Ballard for the title.
“As a small-town girl, I had big dreams — many of which people snickered at,” Asbaty said. “They thought I was crazy, but I realized at a young age that I could be great as I choose to be. And now that is the lesson that I want to teach the youth bowlers of today.
“I stayed in the wealthiest country in the world — United Arab Emeritus. I stood next to one of the tallest buildings in world in Malaysia. I’ve visited a cathedral older than our country in Portugal. I’ve experienced a country that has eight time zones — Russia. All of this was because of bowling.”
Bowling is also where Asbaty learned about life, the world and herself.
“Bowling has taught me all about dedication and how important consistency is,” she said. “If you devote yourself to something, you can truly be a good as you want to be. Bowling has given me a deep appreciation for the world that we live in and an understanding about life’s important lessons. My character has been defined as a result.”
Asbaty, who also stays busy as a co-owner of two companies with PBA superstar Jason Belmonte — The Art of Bowling and the Elite Youth Tour — said learning to lose made all the difference in her success.
“You learn so much more through losing than from winning,” she said. “I’ve won major tournaments because I’ve lost major tournaments. It’s at those very difficult times that you sense where you are mentally and physically. Your weaknesses are exposed, and that’s when you grow. It’s when you lose that you find out what you’re made of.”