Bowling: Hall of Fame doors open for Ekberg

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is more than a cliché.

Just ask Tim Ekberg.

After moving to Kentucky almost two decades ago, Ekberg hung up his bowling shoes. It wasn’t long, however, before the longtime Dayton resident regretted his decision.

“I missed the game but, even more than that, I missed the people,” Ekberg said.

Ekberg, 58, is back on the lanes, making the trek to Thunderbowl Lanes weekly for his league. And, despite his short hiatus, his many accomplishments have earned him induction into the Greater Dayton United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame. Ekberg is one of two who will be recognized in the veteran division. Mark Duff also will be inducted at the Aug. 5 Greater Dayton USBC awards brunch.

“It’s a great honor,” Ekberg said. “It means you’ve matched what your peers have done and you’re part of an elite group.”

That elite group includes another Ekberg as Tim’s cousin Bud is also a GDUSBC Hall of Famer. Tim is quick to share the credit for his success with his cousin.

“I was about 12 or 13 and was throwing a back-up ball — he helped me switch to throwing a hook,” Ekberg said. “Bud had a lot of accomplishments, he was one of the first bowlers to average 200 in the city of Dayton. Seeing how good he was motivated me.”

That motivation and a lot of hours on the lanes helped Ekberg build a solid bowling resume. He tallied 13 career 300 games, managing to roll a pair of perfect games in a span of six days one season. Ekberg also posted four 800 series in a career that has spanned four decades. He won a city team title in 1993 and placed in the top five at state in both all-events and singles in the mid 1980s. He also won six Miami County Bowling Association titles.

“My favorite moment was the team tournament we won at Astro Lanes (Wapakoneta) because I was bowling with my family — my dad, two cousins and my brother,” Ekberg said.

This honor is a welcome milestone, but not a capstone for Ekberg. He continues to bowl competitively in open and senior tournaments and averaged 195 last season.

“When you’re younger, the Hall of Fame isn’t really something you think about and when you get older you wonder if people think you deserve it,” he said. “I guess now I know.”

Tim Ekberg by the numbers

1: City title

13: Career 300 games

228: High average

823: High series, one of four career 800s

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