Striking Spotlight: Shawn Kozak

Well for most of us that had taken the summer off, the aches and pains from the first month back slowly going away. We now look forward to a weekly night out at the Bowling center for FUN and BIG scores!!!! Speaking of big scores, this leads us right into this month’s Striking Spotlight. October’s Spotlight is a gentleman that I have come to respect more than any other person in the world…..with the exception of both my mother and girlfriend. Shawn Kozak was more than just the Assistant Manager at Fair Lanes Squaw Peak during my time there. Shawn took me under his wing and even though I was just a porter, when the center was slow at night he would show me the front desk operations. In just a few months I was working the front desk and later on became a shift manager. Shawn has been such an important influence in my life. When he left Fair Lanes Squaw Peak he took me over with him to the Pointe Hilton Resort where we are here today still working side by side 15 years later. This is just a few reasons as too why I picked Shawn to be this months Striking Spotlight. Now let’s sit down and find out a little bit more about Shawn Kozak. Make sure to come back to see next months Striking Spotlight and see ya next month.

How did you meet your husband/wife and what drew you to him/her? Alison was working the Front Desk at Fair Lanes Desert Hills and I was bowling there twice a week. Not only was she beautiful, her smile radiated the bowling center; it was difficult for me to concentrate on my game.

Top 5 favorite players, past or present? Walter Ray Williams Jr (he has stood the test of time, equipment and lane conditions), Tom Baker (Buffalo of course), Parker Bohn (a class act), Amleto Monacelli (to me he was the first really ripper), Pete Weber (best release ever!)

If you could pick a nickname for yourself, what would it be? Side-Show Bob, of course…Seriously, I would say Anchor Man ~ I bowl so much better at anchor than anywhere else; I like the pressure!

The nature of sports has changed greatly in the past decade. What do you think students should take from high-school sports? Competitive spirit and passion; without either, you will not succeed moving forward.

What is your most embarrassing Bowling moment? First week bowling EVO about 10 years ago; I tried to throw my first shot in practice and I was not expecting the approaches to be as slippery as they were…lets just say my ball found its way onto the next lane and I was lying on my back about 4 feet down the lane!

Is there anyone from your past that once told you, you weren’t good — that you’d like to ‘coincidentally’ run into on the street so you could fill them in on the last few years? I have to be honest and say that the people I have come across in my life have never been critical to me, so I would have to say no.

What is your favorite sports team and why? Are you kidding me? The Buffalo Bills by far….I was born there for one and I come from a very large Football family who lived for Sundays and their Bills; an addition it is the only TRUE New York franchise as the other NY teams don’t even play in the state, they play in NJ. Buffalo fans have what all other sports team fans can only dream of having, we have the undying passion for our team, even during the tough seasons (and losses…).

What is something that you are really proud of and why? When I was a junior bowler at the age of 15 back in Rochester NY; there was a traveling boys scratch league that matched the elite of the city’s junior bowlers and a try out was held for the final spot on my centers team (North Park Lanes); I bowled my career high series at the time (623…yes this series meant something back in 1986) to gain the spot. This showed me that I could perform when I needed to; our team went on to win the league later on that year as well.

What things do you find yourself doing that you said you’d ‘never’ do? “Wheel the lanes”. As anyone who has seen me bowl, I throw the ball fairly hard and when the lanes break down, yes, I moved a bit, but mostly just threw the ball harder, then harder, then harder; unfortunately age has caught up and I now adjust a bit more efficiently and wheel much more than I ever thought I would.

Who challenges you most on the lanes, and how? Gary Estep of course; he carries everything! How can you compete with that?

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