Betty Brennan  Elizabeth, NJ
Debbie Cook  Mentor, OH
Linda Hansen Waukesha, WI
Lauren LaCost Kankakee, IL
Cindy Schuble Louisville, KY
Cathy Almeida Blackwood, NJ
Linda Graham Des Moines, IA
Linda Kelly Huber Heights, IA
Lynda Norry Wichita, KS
Diane Olsen Milwaukee, WI
Maureen Webb North Andover, MA
Mandy Wilson Dayton, OH
Mary Betke Waco, TX
Nancy Ennis Clyde, CA
Julie Gardner Huntington, CA
Pam Inloes Modesto, CA
Liz Johnson Niagara Falls, NY
Lisa Rothe St. Louis, MO
Lisa Vint East Troy, WI
Kendra Cameron Gambrills, MD
Denise Kalaola Waianai, HI
Becky Kregling Stratford, CT
Lana Mink San Antonio, TX
Stacy Werth Rocklin, CA
Lisa Duenow Orono, MN
Lesia Moos Lancaster, CA
Kelly Kulick Union, NJ
Debbie Kuhn Baltimore, MD
Janette Piesczynski Cheektowaga, NY
Missy Sullivan Coon Rapids, MN
 

I pay tribute to some of the best women bowlers in the United States, my TEAM USA teammates…who with their support and  knowledge, gave me the opportunity to be standing here before you today -receiving the highest honor bestowed upon a woman bowler….Induction to the WIBC Hall of Fame.

Bowling has been a part of my life for over 35 years.  I couldn’t wait until my 6th birthday…the day my dad was going to take me bowling for the very first time.   And I have been looking forward to going bowling ever since.

Bowling has done a lot for me other than trophies and cash…it has given me character, integrity, confidence.  It has given me the opportunity to travel practically around the world.  I have been to every continent represented by the Olympic Rings.  I have made friends from Alabama to Zurich.  But nothing can beat the friendships I have made in the 2 cities I have spent all of my career - Tampa, FL and Atlanta, GA.

To all the ladies of the City of Tampa and State of Florida WBA, thank you for treating me with respect and as a peer even though I was an up and coming teenager with a lot to learn.  I still remember my first tournament as an adult bowler.  I couldn’t wait to join the WIBC so I could win money.  I bowled with Eunice Mercer in a doubles event I won $25.00.  I thought that was "big time".

And to ladies of the Greater Atlanta WBA, thank you so much for making my transition to a new city painless and down right fun.  I have enjoyed taking part in your BVL Charity Tournaments and especially enjoyed coaching the junior bowlers in the local YABA leagues.

I know, all of you have heard my accomplishments, titles and honors…but I want to spend some of the time thanking the people behind the bowling scenes.

To my very first AJBC Coach - Marion Latimore.  Mrs. Latimore apparently saw that I had talent at a very young age.  Other coaches wanted me to lower my backswing, but she felt that what I was doing was just natural, and she opted to work with what I had.  The reason I developed my trademark high backswing was because I wanted to throw the ball as hard as the boys in the league, and so I figured out a way to do that - through the backswing.  Luckily I managed to develop accuracy too, but that was only because of the guidance I had at such a young age.

To My College Coach and Best Friend - Delores Alvarez - Dee guided me through my college years and was there for my big wins at the ACU-I Collegiate Nationals in Denver , my AMF World Cup Victory in Tehran, as well as the USA Team Trials in Milwaukee during the late seventies.  She was a great motivator - we all wanted to win for her as well as for ourselves.  She taught me the importance of working together as a team and she spent a lot of time with us individually honing our skills.  She even taught us a bit of sports psychology…and that was over 20 years ago when no one even heard of visualization and breathing techniques.

Dee also taught me a lot about sportsmanship.  Through bowling, she taught me how to handle both victory and defeat.  I always try to learn from my defeats and not get too caught up in the victories.   Her guidance in the college years has helped me to become a strong team bowler and I know that is why I have enjoyed so much success in the TEAM USA program.

To Former Team USA Head Coach - Fred Borden - Fred is such a great coach and motivator.  At one event in Malaysia, Fred used humor to help the team ease up on the tension of bowling for the World Championships on TV.  I know we couldn’t have won that gold medal without him.  I met Fred almost 10 years ago.  Fred believed in me even though I was an unknown commodity, he gave me a chance to shine.  His belief gave me the courage to become the leader that I am today.

To Former Team USA Coach - Mike Lastowski….Mike was the first TEAM USA coach that helped take my bowling to a higher level.  He encouraged me to read books to strengthen my mental game….something like Zen Bowling.  I thought it was all kind of hoky, but he was right…it worked.  He was there with me for every shot while I bowled my way to 2nd in the World at the AMF Bowling World Cup in Mexico.  I think he even took it harder than I did when I came up short by 10 pins…but Mike, we made it to the show…and we KNOW we did the best.  Thank you.

To Team USA Coach - Sean Klug - Even though we only spent 2 tournaments together, he took the time to refine my grip, span and inserts which allowed my swing to become free-er and more powerful.  He gave me that jump-start I needed last year which enabled me to win the TNBA Southern Ladies Classic coming from the 5th spot and winning 4 matches for the title.  All this while still managing to catch a flight 2 hours later in order to bowl in a Team USA event.  Thanks Sean for putting the fire power and fun back in my bowling.

Even though bowling is an individual sport, team bowling has been the most fun for me.  Being able to share the joy of winning that gold medal with my teammates has simply been priceless.  Standing on the podium with your teammates, hand over your heart, listening to the National Anthem always instills a great amount of pride.

Being able to win,  not one, but two WIBC Doubles titles with fellow Hall of Famer and good friend, Cindy Coburn-Carroll is a memory that we will share forever.    I have always been impressed how Cindy would handle herself with such class and sportsmanship.  Even though we are the same age, she has always been role-model to me.  Our friendship has endured the test of time and for that I thank her.

Now even though my career spans over 20 years, it has not always been a bed of roses.  Just like any career, whether it be a career in sport, work or even life, sometimes there are downsides. Probably the most devastating event that occurred in my bowling career happened last December after the US National Amateur Championships in Reno.  I cannot remember ever feeling as low as I did the day that I was left off of TEAM USA 1999.  This decision made me realize that I must continually make an effort to stay on top of the game’s changing environment.  I’m just saddened, though, that I didn’t have the opportunity to share with the first-time team members the things I have learned while being a 7-time TEAM USA member…tricks of the trade that were taught to me by some of the best coaches in the world.   Unfortunately, the National Selection Committee felt that I couldn’t contribute any longer.  But my grandmother always said, "Good things come out of bad things", so I know that this good thing that’s coming my way will be a doozie.

Now we all know that before we learn how to bowl, we must first learn how to just plain walk.   And at this time I would like to spend a few moments thanking my parents for bringing me up in an environment where I always felt that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.  Since both my mom and dad bowled, it would be an understatement to say I was "brought up in a bowling center".  According to the story I’ve been told, when I was born my mom had the audacity to go into labor on my dad’s league night.  So my dad didn’t quite make it to the delivery room in time to see me born, but I think he did manage to shoot 600.  All kidding aside,  I can honestly say, he has been there for me ever since.

My dad was instrumental in my deciding to give college bowling a try.  He was reading The Woman Bowler magazine one day and saw the article about a college woman bowler representing the USA in the AMF World Cup to be held in the Philippines.  He told me that he heard the local Junior College that I was planning on attending had a college bowling team.  I thought, why not give it a try.  Little did I know that 1 year later, I would be that college woman representing the USA in the AMF World Cup being held in Tehran, Iran.  Thanks mom and dad for helping to guide me down a path that has led me to this podium today.

Other family members with me today include my brother Michael and his daughter Rochelle.  I know being 4 years older than my brother and a little better in the bowling arena wasn’t easy during our junior league days.  He had a tough time living up to all my accolades, which is why I am sure he gave up bowling in the first place.  But I can honestly say, he has always been one of my biggest fans.  I still here him say "That’s my sister".

My niece Rochelle has been one of the joys of my life.  She has grown into a lovely young lady.  I got Rochelle started into bowling at age 5 and since she was a left-hander, it took me a while to get her off of that wrong-foot delivery since she was trying to copy her Aunt Lucy.  But she managed to get the hang of the 4-step delivery, hand positions and spare shooting.  At the age of 8 she was already helping to line-up her league teammates.   Even though cheerleading and the drama club takes up most of her time, I would like to thank her for taking time out from school to be here on this special day.

I would also like to thank my mother and father in law - Edward and Lorraine Sandelin for being a part of one of the most special days of my bowling career.  Edi and Lorraine have welcomed me into their family with open arms.  Since Edi is still an active left-handed bowler at age 83, most of our conversations lean towards hand positions, spare techniques and how to get out that pesky 7 pin.    I have thoroughly enjoyed all his old bowling stories about the Budweiser teams, Andy Varipapa and even Marioin Ladewig.

To my husband Steve - what can I say that would do justice.  Steve has been my partner for over 7 years and my husband for almost 2. I honestly feel that we are true soul mates.  Steve has always supported my bowling endeavors, even though my travels may take me away from home for 2 to 3 weeks at a time.  He knows how important my sport is to me and treats it with the same importance.  He is always encouraging me to strive for higher goals.  He IS my biggest fan….my forever.

Since I have done so much travelling for TEAM USA, not only have I seen hundreds of different bowling centers, I have also missed hundreds of days at work.  I would like to thank Dewey and Patti Blaylock of Tactics, Incorporated, for understanding the importance of my participating in TEAM USA, representing my country, and winning medals.  I know it has sometimes been a burden at the office while I was away, but they always made it easy for me take the time off without worry.

So many people have believed in me and for that I am most grateful.   People like Elaine Hagin, Joyce Deitch and Sylvia Broyles have always been there for me and womens bowling.  Elaine’s constant dedication to bring our sport to the same level as golf and tennis is commendable.  She was instrumental in my nomination by the Womens Sports Foundation as Amateur Team Athlete of the year in 1997.   And on behalf of all past and present members of TEAM USA, I thank her for her dedication.   It is truly appreciated.

I’d like to thank all of you for being a part of one of the most exciting events of my bowling career…being inducted into the WIBC Bowling Hall of Fame for Superior Performance.  Wow - What an awesome feeling!

A dream has certainly come true today.

Thank you all.