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  Former Boardman Resident, Bill DeCicco, Spends A Lot Of His ‘Spare Time’ On The Bowling Lanes  
  February 15, 2024 Edition  
     A Boardman Township resident from 1952 until 2013, Bill DeCicco has spent a significant portion of his ‘spare’ time for the past 71 of his 83 years on this planet rolling strikes.
      As a 12-year-old it all began on a Saturday morning during the summer of 1953 when DeCicco and a couple of friends peeked inside the former Champion Recreation in downtown Youngstown. Spotted by George Vallos, the long time manager and a bowling professional, he said we could bowl but it was going to cost us a quarter a game. After rolling a couple of strikes and something like a 108 game DeCicco became ‘hooked.’
      This led to DeCicco’s joining the very first Saturday morning youth league at Mar Hill Lanes that fall. Mar Hill was located on Market Street on Youngstown’s far southside. Mar Hill and the nearby Marvondale Lanes were where many from Boardman bowled until 1960 when Ed Theis and Dick Wilson constructed Boardman Lanes as the Mahoning Valley’s first “modern pin palace.”
      However, when Boardman Lanes opened DeCicco was a student at Denison University. At Denison he honed his bowling skills by taking a physical education bowling class from George Hill at the former 6-lane Granville Recreation. Hill later went on to become an assistant at Ohio State to famed football coach Woody Hayes. Then academics was the priority and bowling was limited to occasional visits to centers in nearby Newark and Columbus.
      Graduation from Denison in June of 1963 provided additional spare time to concentrate on bowling. That fall DeCicco joined the Boardman Businessmen’s League at Boardman Lanes along with 1959 Boardman High classmate the late Cort Prout and long time friend Pete Chick. The team was sponsored by Prout Boiler.
      DeCicco maintained a membership on the Prout Boiler team until 2013 (50 years) when he relocated to greater Cleveland to reside closer to family. In addition to Boardman Lanes he bowled another 12 years in a league at the former Bowladrome and 3 years at Holiday Bowl both located in Struthers.
      Currently, DeCicco bowls in two senior leagues and subs in another at RollHouse-North Olmsted formerly known as Buckeye Lanes. Buckeye was the long time location of the Professional Bowling Association’s Cleveland Opens and where in 1983 pro-bowler Norm Duke won his first title at age 18. Remembering his Boardman roots “Board Men” is the name of DeCicco’s Monday team.
      DeCicco’s career bowling highlights follow:
       ● 3 - 300 games including his second on his 65th birthday and third on his 65 1/2 birthday
       ● 3 - 299 games
       ● 1 - 298 game
       ● 31 - games of 275+
       ● 23 - 700+ series (757 high)
       ● 12 - 200+ averages (207 high)
       ● 1990 recipient of the Boardman Businessmen’s Pete Chick. Sr. Memorial Award for sportsmanship and fellowship
       ● 3rd place (of several hundred entries) in the 1997 Ohio State Seniors Tournament with a 1352 actual for 6 games
       ● 1st place in the Greater Youngstown Bowling Association’s (GYBA) 2000 and 2001 Youth/Adult Tournaments (with Billy Klase)
       ● 1st place in the 2004 GYBA Seniors Singles Tournament
       ● 2006 Induction into the GYBA Hall of Fame.
       ● 1st place in the 2008 GYBA Seniors Doubles Tournament (with the late Russ Turner).
      Over the years, DeCicco has written several bowling related articles for the former Youngstown Vindicator, The Boardman News, the Struthers Journal and the former Lane Lines. He continues as historian for the Boardman Businessmen’s League maintaining 62 years of league records with assistance from Denise Simon.
      In 2017 DeCicco established a Facebook group for bowlers entitled “Boardman Bill’s Bowling Buddies” and he serves as its administrator.
      Presently the group is comprised of 234 members. Most are from the greater Youngstown and greater Cleveland areas. Nathan Needham serves a moderator representing Boardman Lanes while Jay DesForges serves in similar capacity for RollHouse-North Olmsted. Those with an interest in bowling are welcome to join.
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