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Bowling great's efforts to help Strike-a-thon appreciated

News-Times, News-Times
Published 1:00 am, Monday, December 6, 2004
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I am pensively penning this piece poolside at my place in Pompano Beach, Fla., and I can't help but think how much we take for granted in this life.

Now, Ellen and I go to great pains not to take each other for granted. We constantly thank each other for the little things, and we are constantly reminding each other how lucky we are to have what we have.

And I need to remind all of you right here in Danbury of what we have in our bowling lives every April, because I am afraid that many of us are starting to take it for granted. I am speaking, of course, of the Frank Bacon Memorial Strike-a-thon, and of the hard work that pro bowler Nelson Burton Jr. does for us every year.

We just left from a nice visit with "Bo," a get-together we try to maintain every fall when we vacation in Florida. We just left his home, a beautiful estate nestled on the banks of a lake on Florida's east coast, and we got to meet two of his four children, his oldest, Katrina, a lovely girl with a warm smile and a down-to-earth attitude, and his youngest, Brett, who, despite an eye injury several years ago hits a golf ball farther and straighter than most professional golfers I have seen, and is surely destined for a shot at the PGA.

And after the visit, I got to thinking, am I, too, taking Bo for granted? He is there for me every year, as he has been since 1985, bringing the world's best bowlers to Danbury to help to raise money for the Regional Hospice.

Although I am thankful to count Bo among my friends, admittedly, I am still a little starstruck whenever I see him, and I have to constantly remind myself of who he is.

This is not Bo's bio, by the way, but I want all of you to remember what we have. Bo is the winner of 17 major PBA titles, and of course, he came into all our living rooms on Saturday afternoons for 24 years with ABC Sports PBA Tour telecasts.

And he became a friend to many of us when he agreed to come to Brookfield Lanes back in 1985 as a fill in for the great Don Carter at the first Strike-a-thon, then called Strikes for Tykes.

He has been with us ever since, visiting Brookfield Lanes every year for the past 20, and bringing with him the likes of such bowlers as John Petraglia, Mike Aulby, Mark Roth, Dick and Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams, just to name a select few.

And though he has been nominated for an Emmy on several occasions, Bo has remained our friend and has never made an excuse to get out of coming. In fact, just a few years ago, Bo made the trek to Brookfield, even though Brett had suffered a severe eye injury just the week before Bo was scheduled to visit us. That is professionalism.

Next year Bo will bring the inimitable Marshall Holman back for a second visit. Marshall was with us for the second Strike-a-thon, and though he is not as active in bowling as he once was, he was selected as one of the top 50 bowlers of all time back in 2000.

If there is credit due for the success of the Strike-a-thon, much of it needs to go to Bo. Though it gets harder each year to line up top notch players, Bo always comes through, and I beg you all to support him and Holman next April when they visit us.

It's easy to say we know him, and it's easy to lose sight of who he is, what he has accomplished and why he comes to Brookfield Lanes year after year. He needs the support of the entire bowling community if we are to continue our efforts.

Don't take Bo's presence for granted. It's OK to be a little bit awestruck around him. Remember who he is and what he does, and give him and the Strike-a-thon every consideration next year.



The 2004 Mixed City Tournament was held last month with 18 teams and 41 doubles participating. Hosted jointly by the Danbury Bowling Association and the Greater Danbury Women's Bowling Association, the winners included a team captained by Joe Acocella Jr at 2,823 (the names of the team members and their individual scores were not given to me). The doubles title was captured by Wendy Weiss and Jason DiDomenico at 1,588. Frank Sequenzia won the Men's All Events with a 1,425 total, and Teresa Miller was the Women's All Events winner at 1,582. No other information was provided.



In the kiddie corner up at Lore's Lanes, good scores include Kevin Ryan's 225-633 set and Anthony Valentine's 203-593. Jessica Meola had a 185-522 and Elliott Herz posted a 510 set.

High averages include Anthony Valentine at 183, Jessica Meola at 154, Cletus LoRusso at 163 and Jessica Green at 135.



I wonder if anything ever happens at Brookfield Lanes, anymore. I never hear how their kids are doing, and I don't know if there have been any honor scores lately. I apologize to all Brookfield bowlers, but I just do not hear anything about what goes on there.



Kudos go out to Janelle Pelletier. Bowling in the Lore's Scratch Doubles League on Nov. 29, Janelle pitched a four-game set of 936, including a 734 for her first three games.



Frank Acri is a freelance writer. Anyone with information for his column may call him at (203) 748-8188, write to him c/o The News-Times, 333 Main St., Danbury, CT, 06810 or contact him via e-mail at franka9438@aol.com.