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Bowling: Harry Simmons was epitome of what bowlers should be

Updated: March 3, 2014 3:25PM



Like most other sports, bowling is about tradition and respect. No matter what your age, those who have come before you on the lanes should always be remembered and never disrespected, no matter what their average was or how many award scores they accumulated.

A prime example of that is Harry Simmons, longtime bowler at Ray’s Lanes in Lake Station who died at the age of 86.

Simmons bowled in the Monday Men’s Handicap league at Ray’s for years before not being able to bowl anymore. But that didn’t stop him from coming down to the 16-lane center on Central Avenue for the last 10 years to watch, especially when his son, Mark, still bowled in the Monday league.

And he had a unique tradition that keeps him entrenched in the memories of those working at Ray’s Lanes.

“Whenever he came (to the center), he ordered a cup of coffee and paid in half dollars,” said Jimmy Millsap, who works behind the counter. “When he ran out, he’d have his son go to the bank to get more half dollars.”

Whether it was that quirk or his personality or devotion to the sport, people who love the sport will always remember Sims. Ray’s Lanes owner Mark Millsap not only asked for a moment of silence on Monday night, but also had all 16 lanes re-rack in honor of Simmons.

There were several younger bowlers in attendance that have no idea who Sims was, and might not care. They think it’s OK to disrespect the sport and those around them. This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact because I’ve been there and remember being lectured by elder bowlers to be more respectful. That means not kicking or throwing things or yelling like an idiot (which I’m still guilty of occasionally) just because you don’t strike.

Bowling is a game of respect and people like Harry Simmons exude respect no matter what the score says after 10 frames.

Greater Calumet Association tourney: The 90th annual Greater Calumet Area Bowling Association tournament will run Feb. 9, 16 and 23 at Stardust Bowl III in Dyer. Team, singles and doubles will all take place at the 48-lane center with singles and doubles at 9 a.m. and team event at 1 p.m.

Bowlers can chose to bowl in the pins over average division or the actual division. Separate events are offered for men and women. The cost of each event is $30. Participants may chose to bowl in the other division by paying an extra $20 per event. No doubles-only or singles-only entries permitted.

Based on 35 entries, the team event will pay out $1,000 to the champion in the pins over average and actual divisions. Doubles, based on 70 entries, will pay out $550 in both divisions while singles will pay $275 per division.

An optional all-events prize is being offered in men’s and women’s divisions in actual and pins over average at a cost of $5 extra. A non-refundable $20 must accompany entry form to guarantee entry.

For more details or an entry form, visit www.greatercalumet.com or call 923-7240.

New P-T tourney format: It’s still being formulated by myself and a couple other key figures, but there will definitely be a different format to the season-ending Post-Tribune Tournaments this year. The Xs and Os will be the same (number of games, finals format, etc.), though we might not go as difficult with the lane condition since our P-T Sport Shot Classic fit that bill to a tee.

What will be changing is who’s allowed to bowl. In the evolving invitational format over the years, bowlers have to achieve certain scores in league and tourney play to earn a spot in the tourney field. That invite format will still be around for cheaper entry fees, but the field will not be limited to just those bowlers anymore.

With tournament entries down across the board — from national to state to local events — evolution is needed, and allowing every bowler in Northwest Indiana the opportunity to compete in the best scratch tourneys around is one of our solutions to dropping entries. More details will be coming soon.

LakeShore Association tournament: The annual George Ostoich Memorial LakeShore Association tourney is still accepting entries for its last weekend on Feb. 8-9. Team event will be at Cressmoor Lanes in Hobart on Sunday, Feb. 9 (squads at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.), while singles and doubles will be at Stardust II in Hobart on Saturday, Feb. 8. The entry fee is $30 per event, plus an optional $5 for all-events, and is open at any LakeShore Association member who has bowled at least 15 games in a league this season, or 21 games last season in a LakeShore league. There will be prize funds and awards for scratch and pins-over-average divisions. For more details, contact tournament manager Ken Laviolette at 763-2034 or kdlcsl89@hotmail.com.



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