Greater Miami Bowling Council - Hall of Fame

Maria Smith

Maria SmithBackground Information:

Maria Rose Antoinette Amelio Smith, born July 5, 1947 in New York City, New York to Anthony Amelio and Elizabeth DeAngelis Amelio, one sibling, Dr. Gilbert Frank Amelio, Ph.D..

My father has always been an avid bowler, even when he was a youngster in New York. He started me bowling in 1957, when I was 10 years old. He taught me the basics of bowling at the Palladium. My first league was at Bird Bowl, "The Happy Invitational Teenagers", under secretary Madge Shermer. I participated in Saturday AJBC leagues until I was 19 years old. I competed in the Coca Cola Travel League for Crown Lanes and won the championship under the guidance of Edie Jo Russo Neal Norman. I also -represented Airport Lanes in the Travel League after the closing of Crown Lanes. I competed in the GMAC High School league, for Miami Senior High School. In 1963/64 we won the First GMAC Championships. 

In 1964/65 we again won the GMAC Championships. In 1965 I was named the first "All-Dade Female Bowler". I was also named to the Miami News All-Star Team in 1965 and again in 1966. At the age of 16, I rolled the first AJBC sanctioned female 600 series in the State of Florida and was presented a beautiful award by the late Mae Goodrich. In 1964/65, I was selected to the first "All-American" Youth Bowl Major Girls Team and participated in the first national radio hook-up bowling tournament. In December 1964, I won the first "Lou Mandragona" Holiday Invitational Tournament at the Coliseum Lanes. Today this tournament is the Junior Orange Bowl Bowling Tournament. After graduating from Miami Senior High School, I attended Miami-Dade Community College for one year where I captained the Girls Bowling Team(65-66). In 1989 I bowled the highest game by a female in the Greater Miami Women's Bowling Association, 296, I also bowled my first 700 series that year.

There was one thing I learned from the people that guided me in my early years, it was that to make a difference, you must give back what you have taken. From my parents to my instructors and mentors, Madge Shermer, Lou Mandragona, Dot Comey, John Durr, Ruth Trask, Charlotte Wilkins, Edie Jo Norman, Dick Evans, Jim Neal, and all the others to numerous to mention, I say here is how I gave back what I took!

Bowling Service:

My service to the bowling community started at a very young age. My father was a member of the Greater Miami Bowling Association Board of Directors and I started assisting him with the selling of raffle tickets for the Annual Bowlers Dance. Under the guidance of Mrs. Sally Seidler, I became one of the best raffle tickets sellers the GMBA ever had! I also went with him to the local city tournaments and ran errands for the workers. After graduating high school (age 17), I went to work at Airport Lanes, manning the control desk, playroom, pool room and Saturday Children's Bowling Program. I became a WIBC member in 1966 and have been one ever since. At 19 years old, I got married and went to work for Ryder Systems. I participated in their bowling league at Western Sunset Bowl for 2 years.

In 1972 my father purchased the Western Sunset Bowl Pro Shop where I worked part-time repairing bowling balls and learning how to drill them. In 1973, Jim Neal asked me to become the Youth Director at Western Sunset and help make their youth program one that could support itself. I was there, as Youth Director, until August of 1979. During those years, I am proud to say, I started, with the assistance of Paul Boller, the first youth "charity" league .... the Chris Leone Muscular Dystrophy League. AJBC participants received nothing but the satisfaction of raising money to be donated to MD and a trip to the FountainBleau Hotel to present the money at the Jerry Lewis telethon. The league ran for several years and each year, the winning team would be driven, by me, to the Hotel for the presentation. The Saturday Youth Bowling Program increased to two full shifts on Saturday, the charity league Saturday early evening, and the Adult/Child Sunday early evenings. I also assisted with the Ladies Pro Tour (Bowling Center Liaison) and the Men's Pro Tour events (In the statistic office with Harry Golden) when they were at Western Sunset. In 1974 I became a Certified AJBC Coach Instructor.

After leaving Western Sunset Bowl, I went to work, on the control desk, at Kendall Lanes . After 6 weeks on the desk, I was promoted to the League Office as Assistant League Coordinator under Doris Babendererde. I stayed in that position until June of 1986. During my years at Kendall Lanes, I was the Interim Youth Director, the Youth Director, and instituted the now famous Junior Scratch Trio League. Each of the years the PBA held an event at Kendall Lanes, Doris and I were put in charge of the Celebrity Pro Am... raising money for many various charities. We also worked with the Cloverleaf Staff, assisting them with the Pro-Am Tournaments. Each year the Professional Bowlers came to Kendall Lanes, I was asked to run the "Pro Tournament Qualifying Event" prior to the main event. In the early 1980's, when Bumper Bowling came to the forefront of bowling, Doris and I commissioned Tom Papageorgiou to build "Wood Bumpers". After setting up the program and acting as it's secretary/treasurer, we put on 18 three person teams of Bumper Bowling .... the first ever in Greater Miami. The league, with modern bumpers, still bowls.

In 1982 I started assisting the GMBA Secretary/Treasurer, Paul Boller, with "Midnight" lane inspections for high score awards. For the next 7-8 years I was a member of the group of inspectors who would go out after high score awards were bowled. On any given night, there could be one, two, or three scores bowled throughout Dade County. I also started assisting with certification inspections. In 1984 I attended a Certified Lane Inspection Class held at Airport bowl, conducted by Monty Nakano, Elaine Rabatski and Paul Boller, and passed the class second only to Harold Harper. When ABC/WIBC instituted the Joint Certification Committee, I became the Assistant Chairperson and remained in that position for almost two years. When Mr. Paul Boller resigned as secretary/treasurer of the GMBA, I took over as the Joint Committee Chairperson and completed Mr. Boller's unexpired term. From 1984 till the project was ended, I traveled with CLI Instructor, Paul Boller, throughout Florida, assisting him with CLI Classes.

In October 1986, I was asked to help Piper Lanes become a more profitable bowling center, by becoming the Director of Bowling. Prior to Hurricane Andrew, Piper Lanes boasted 3 full days of ladies leagues, 5 full afternoons of senior citizens, plus early and late evening leagues.

In 1987 I became a member of the Greater Miami Bowling Council from Piper Lanes. I have served as Vice President and President twice. In 1987 I also became a member of the Bowling Proprietors Association of South Florida. I remained on the board until the hurricane. I served once as Vice President. I also served as a distributor of the "Carpet Lanes" for the South Dade Elementary Schools. When not in use, the carpets were stored at Piper Lanes. When a School requested them, I, with Paul Boller, would load them onto a truck, deliver them to the school, and demonstrate how they were to be used. In 1992 Piper Lanes was closed due to Hurricane Andrew.

In 1991, I attended, and passed, an LAOTC (Local Association Officers Training Class) in Ft. Lauderdale.

In 1992, I accompanied Paul Boller (CLI Instructor and ABC Director) to Caracas, Venezuela. to assist him in the training of the Central American countries in the art of lane inspections and certifications.

In 1994 I became the first ABC sanctioned female in the State of Florida.

After the destruction of Piper Lanes due to Hurricane Andrew, I remained in contact with JR Knutson, owner of Piper Lanes. I also remained in contact with the secretaries of the leagues. At the beginning of 1994 I began working with the contractors to rebuild Piper Lanes. On Labor Day Weekend 1994 Piper Lanes re-opened to a waiting community in need of fun and recreation. I remain Director of Bowling to this day.

In 1997 I attended my first GMAC Bowling Meeting. In 1999, GMAC Director Wayne Storey, asked me to make sure the rules for the Interscholastic High School League were in line with YABA. He also asked me to handle the selection for the Miami Herald All-Dade bowlers. At the 2000 GMAC finals, he asked Paul Boller and me, to represent the GMAC at the 2001 Summit Meeting for bowling.

During my years at Piper Lanes, I have increased the headcount prior to the hurricane and brought it back after the hurricane. In 1996 I started the Youth Classic Scholarship League. 30 children showed up for the league that first year. Now, starting its fifth year, we have approximately 50 of the very best youth bowlers in the Greater Miami area and have given away almost $50,000.00 in scholarship money. This league not only bowls for scholarship money, but, mandatorily must perform community service hours. The first 3 years, the league held a food drive during the holiday season and presented the St. Vincent DePaul Society with several huge cardboard boxes of food. The 3rd year, the league collected not only food, but money ($125.00) and presented it to the MARC Children's Fund. This past year, the league collected toys (almost 100 toys) to be donated to the Catholic Children's Home.

In 1997 I started working with the Youth Program at Piper Lanes and am today the "Secretary" for the seven weekend leagues. As of February 15th, 2001, the "Junior Bowling Program" at Piper Lanes has Incorporated and has filed for 501 c3 status under my guidance. I also do part-time youth coaching. In 1999 I became a USA Olympic Level I Certified Coach.

In 1996, I was appointed to the Greater Miami Bowling Association Board of Directors by President Steve Hunter. In 1998 I was elected to a 2 year term. I have served on the following committees: Awards (Vice-Chairperson), Lane Inspection, Secretary of the Year, Uniforms( now Chairperson), YABA, Bowling Council, Grievance, Nominating. When the GMBA hosted the FSBA Annual Tournament, at Homestead Bowl, I worked all but one weekend (approximately 12 weekends). Prior to my appointment to the GMBA Board. I had worked, as an adult, almost every City Tournament since 1983. In 2000, I designed the cover for the "Millennium" City Tournament entry form.

In 1997, I was elected to the Greater Miami Women's Bowling Association Board of Directors. I served until August 1, 2000. I served on the following committees: Publicity and Promotion, Lane Certification.

In 1997, I was elected as the Greater Miami Junior Bowling Association's Secretary/Treasurer, a position I still hold. In 2000, Jim Zebehazy appointed me to the YABA Sounding Board to gather opinions on future changes in YABA. In April 2000, I ran the first GMJBA sponsored scholarship tournament at Cloverleaf Lanes.

In 1998, I was appointed by Ben Jackson, Miami Elks Lodge #948, as the Tournament Manager for their "Annual Red Ribbon Scholarship Tournament". In 2001, Piper Lanes will host the 4th Annual Tournament. This tournament has awarded almost $4,000.00 in scholarships.

In 2000, Nick Thomson and I started the "Match-It" Traveling Scholarship Tournament. We were seeking away to keep our junior bowlers in Greater Miami. We have presented 5 tournaments. Our scholarship award is approximately $1,500.00 to date.

In 2000, after having done several years of volunteer work at the JOB Tournaments, Mickey Rauch nominated me as an Associate Director to the Junior Orange Bowl Committee. Joan Dillon, JOB Active Member, and I were named CO-Chairs for the Bowling Event. Once I had secured a $5,000.00 sponsor (U.S. Contracting & Plumbing) and revamped the tournament, we proudly presented the 2000 version at Homestead Bowling Center over the Thanksgiving weekend. Adult-Junior entries were up 33% as were the singles event entries. The tournament awarded almost $8,500.00 in scholarships. With the arrival of new/additional sponsors, the 2001 Junior Orange Bowl Bowling Tournament, as of this date, will feature approximately $10,000.00 in added money for scholarships and will add additional squads to handle the expected increase in entries.

I have attended the ABC National Convention since 1982 and have participated in 2 events and will participate in the 2001 event. In 2000 and again in 2001, I will be an alternate Delegate to the convention. The first national event I participated in was in Reno, Nevada at the Bowling Stadium. My father and I became the first father/daughter combo to bowl in the doubles event. Schedule allowing, I have attended approximately 12 FSBA jamborees, 3 as an alternate Delegate and last year as a Delegate. I have competed in 3 WIBC National Events and will be participating in Ft. Lauderdale.

I am very proud to say I have coached the following bowlers when they were in youth competition: Barbara Peltz, writer for the Bowlers Journal; Rod Pastuer, former Professional Bowler; Mike Nyitray, former Professional Bowler, USA Gold Instructor, former Team USA Member, and GMBC Hall of Famer; Leslie Young, former Professional Bowler, Gold Medal Winner Tournament of the Americas, and GMBC Hall of Famer; James Janoff GMBC Hall of Famer and Annual Gene Chilson Award Winner; Don Carr, Annual Gene Chilson Award Winner and GMBC Hall of Fame Nominee; and Stacey Harper, GMBC Hall of Fame Nominee.

I have served as a league secretary to the following leagues:

The Harry Rich Classic Piper Lanes 3 years
Friday Scratch Trio Kendall Lanes 3 years
South Dade Businessmen Homestead Bowl 3 years
Mid-Week Trio Piper Lanes 5 years
Youth Classic Scholarships Piper Lanes 5 years

I aided Paul Boller in the development of the Coral Gables Merchants and Friends league at Bowl-O-Mat Lanes in the late 1970's.

Sharper Creations Copyright 2000-03
Greater Miami USBC Association, Inc.
All rights reserved. Revised:
April 29, 2002

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