This past weekend, my Uncle Bill was inducted into the Hillsdale High School Hall of Fame. It was a great honor, given by a great school, to a great man, for his amazing accomplishments as a professional bowler. As an inductee he joins the ranks of Dick Vermeil, Bill Wilkins and Maureen Brady.
I had the honor of accepting the award on behalf of the family, and shared that I actually found it a bit ironic that I was accepting this recognition, because as a 2nd generation Hardwick, who attended Hillsdale High School, I would often hear from the faculty, especially on the first day of school, “you’re not like the rest of “those” Hardwick’s are you?” And there is the irony of the story, as many years later we were inducting “one of those Hardwick’s” into Hillsdale’s Hall of Fame.
As a child, our family would often gather around the television set on Saturday afternoons to watch my uncle bowl on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And, if you have ever seen my uncle bowl, you would see a determined, disciplined and dedicated individual who wanted to win.
In fact, there is a story our family tells, where Bill had made the Varsity Basketball Team here at Hillsdale, but when he learned that his coach Homer Zugelder wasn’t going to start him, he quit the team. And upon learning the Billy had quit the team, Homer, a previous inductee into the Hillsdale High School Hall of Fame, drove down to Bel Mateo Bowl and asked my uncle if he wanted to be a “bowling alley bum for the rest of his life”, to which Billy replied, “better than sitting on the bench coach.”
That was my uncle. He wanted to leave his mark in the world, and he really didn’t care what anyone thought. And it was those qualities, that made him the champion and the success that he was.