The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 23, 2014

Bowling: Career-defining inductions to halls of fame


Daily Item

---- — By Brian Holtzapple

For The Daily Item

MIFFLINBURG -- Some people wait virtually their whole lives for that one special honor to define their career.

Between them, Beavertown's Robert Camp and Mifflinburg's Jean Walls have waited a lifetime to reach the pinnacle of bowling in the Valley.

Sadly, Howard "Buzz" Sechman didn't get the same opportunity.

Camp, Sechman and Walls became the latest inductees into the Central Pa. Bowling Association and Mifflinburg Women's Bowling Association halls of fame, respectively, Saturday at the Carriage Corner Restaurant.

At 85 years of age -- bowling for 45 of them -- Camp became the 44th member of the CPBA hall due to his meritorious service in the sport.

"Once you reach this age, you don't expect (the hall of fame induction) to come up," said Camp, who used to own Camp's Custard Cup in Beaver Springs while also sponsoring a bowling team by the same name.

"My grandson (Mifflinburg High bowling coach Curtis Camp) is the one who pursued my induction, and I have to give him credit for this."

Despite being an admitted average bowler, Camp, whose career highs include a 277 game, a 708 series and a 198 average, has won a pair of league titles, in addition to appearing in the ABC and USBC nationals 17 times while making a number of trips to the state and senior state bowling tournaments.

"I've never rolled a 300. I take pride in sportsmanship and sponsoring teams down through the years," said Camp, who got wind of his induction while doing what he loves best -- bowling.

"Everybody in the bowling alley was congratulating me, and that's what I call sportsmanship. That's what bowling is all about."

Sechman was the 45th inductee into the CPBA Hall of Fame, an award given posthumously after the Lewisburg native succumbed to cancer in 2011.

The namesake of an award given in his honor to the bowler with the highest average in Best Bowl's Thursday Night Men's League, Sechman claimed top average honors in said league for five consecutive years (1996-2001). He also had a 200 average or better in 12 of 14 years while competing in the Monday Night Men's League.

Sechman's CPBA bowling career included a pair of 800 series (814, 803), 14 perfect games and four near-perfect games. He rolled four additional 300 games while he was retired and living in Palm Coast, Fla., beginning in 2002.

A bowler for more than 50 years, Walls has also waited a long time for her induction -- which was based on her meritorious service to the sport -- but at least she is now a member of the hall of fame along with her father, Dayton, and sister, Martha "Marty" Girvin.

In 1985 Walls got to bowl with her father, sister and three of her other sisters (Kay, Shirley, Dot) in the USBC nationals.

"The honor means a bunch to me. I've been bowling a long time. My dad's in the hall of fame, and Marty is in the hall of fame, and I'm proud to be with them," said Walls, the ninth of 13 siblings. "It was a long time coming."

During her long career Walls was a certified coach instructor at Super Bowl 522 (now Best Bowl) and she ran the Young American Bowling Alliance program there. She served on the YABA board for several years at Super Bowl before starting the YABA program at Lewisburg Lanes with Larry Andrews.

Walls' love of bowling didn't fade despite her move to South Carolina during the late 1980s. While in the South, Walls became a board member of the Greenville Women's Bowling Association.

Now, with her induction on Saturday, Walls' bowling career has come full circle.

"When you start out bowling, being inducted is nothing that you really think about," said Walls. "But the longer you bowl and the more years you put in you think, 'Yeah, I can do that,' and I've done it and I'm really proud to be here. It's an accomplishment."

Also honored on Saturday were the CPBA's High School Bowlers of the Year.

The honorees were senior Nicholas Chamberlin and sophomore Alexis Neuer of Lewisburg; junior James Hackenberg and freshman Keanna Delp of Mifflinburg; seniors Luke Zimmerman and Jenna Yarger of Midd-West; and senior Alana Eisnhart and junior Aaron Dues of Selinsgrove.