By Jim Goodwin on May 9, 2019 3:59:45 PMHow amazing is this thing called Bowl TV? It struck me this week that because of Bowl TV, we can all be a part of some of the most special moments in bowling - Hall of Fame ceremonies. We have been to many of these events over the years . . . USBC, PBA, PWBA, state and local - there are always inspirational speeches and fellowship that will be remembered forever.
Honestly, we have sat through a few long speeches we would like to forget, but most have been great, like Mark Roth's five-minute speech, and maybe the best one I can remember came from coach and friend, and fellow journalist Tom Kouros, who we lost this week.
My point is that because of Bowl TV, Hall of Famers can share their thoughts and thanks with thousands instead of just a few dozen in the room . . . and this year's class is truly incredible . . .
Jim St. John . . . He was a little before my time, but I sure remember guys like Chuck Pezzano and Dave Davis and others talking about him. They said he was a class act and a gentleman that everyone liked to be around, and a fierce opponent in any match. In the days when the extreme outside of the lane usually had a dry board or two, St. John was one of the best at 'playing the twig' to create an advantage that very few had the talent to exploit.
Bob Johnson . . . It is hard to believe that Bob is a few years younger than me because he has been writing about bowling for so long - since he was a California teenager working with the amazing Joe Lyou at the Pacific Bowler newspaper. Joe taught him well, not just about journalism, but about life and how to treat others. Johnson got more training at Bowl Magazine with the American Bowling Congress and at Bowlers Journal from folks like Jim Dressel and others. I have special memories of spending time with Bob and Jim and our friend Dick Stoeffler in Vegas. Bob knew him from his time at Tiki Lanes in California. Johnson also is a wine expert who could always make a good recommendation for those Vegas dinners we shared.
Larry Lichstein . . . I first met Larry when I did a story about his PBA Player Services operation for the Bowling News in the mid-80s. We always talked a little at events in the years after that . . . mostly he talked and I listened . . . and in 2006 we worked together on the Generations Pro Bowling Tour road staff. There is never a dull moment with Litchy, and perhaps some of the most entertaining moments in bowling history happened when Larry and our friend Lenny Nicholson were together. I could have sold tickets to some of those get together. Many enjoyed listening to them on Phantom Radio.
John Davis . . . Bowling lost a genuine genius when John Davis died so young at 61. Like me, John loved bowling history, and we spent hours talking about it. He loved to say "Those who do not know bowling history are doomed to repeat it." And he also was very fond of the Einstein quote about doing things the same way expecting different results - "a sure way to drive yourself insane," he would say. John Davis was one of the few people who was known and respected not just for his contributions to American bowling, but globally. His One World, One Ball project was way ahead of its time . . . but isn't that true for most people we label as "genius?"
Kelly Kulick . . . I did an interview with Kelly not long after the PWBA ceased operation in 2003. She had embarked on the PBA Tour, and was not having much fun. To her credit, she stuck it out, and when she won the Tournament of Champions, all that work and tenacity made perfect sense. She is an incredible talent and an amazing person who still may have a few extraordinary performances left. Like Liz Johnson, she still has a lot to give. Kelly will be a big part of bowling on and off the lanes for the near and distant future.
Chris Barnes . . . During my years as media director for events like the Mini Eliminator, I had a front-row seat to watch guys like Chris, Tim Mack, Brian Kretzer and many others when they were knocking them down as megabuck bowlers and Team USA players. They were also collecting some big paychecks that made it virtually impossible to 'turn pro.' There was no doubt, however, that when Chris did join the PBA, he would find tremendous success . . . but the smartest thing he ever did was to marry Lynda and make their home in Texas. Great bowlers, fantastic family.
Mika Koivuniemi . . . Mika earned the "Major Mika" nickname because he can really throw it for the cheese; he makes great shots when it really counts. There were a few very good players from Europe before him, but he was the first really great player. And he had some great support from Dave Bernhardt, Lori Mraz, and the good people at Turbo Bowling Accessories, who sponsored his early efforts, helped him find a home in Michigan, and encouraged him to pursue his dreams in America. Now he is making his mark as a coach in the UAE . . . a guy to whom so much was given is now giving back to bowling.
I can't imagine a stronger Hall of Fame Class than this one in 2019 . . . and the good news is anyone can watch the induction ceremony on Bowl TV !