Archive » July 26, 2012
Davidson enjoys life as Hall of Famer
By Willis Jacobson, Staff Writer
When Dede Davidson was a young child growing up in San Jose, she and her family would often spend their spare time having fun at the local bowling lanes.
Soon, however, what was just a hobby for her parents and siblings turned into something a little more serious for Dede.
“I shot a 299 at age 11,” she said of her incredible score that was just one pin shy of a perfect game. “That was kind of like the little clincher when I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Now more than three decades later, after a professional career that spanned 18 years, Davidson is in elite company alongside the greatest who have ever ridden a gutter or knocked down a pin. She was inducted in April into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas, in the Superior Performer category.
“Throughout my whole career, that’s where I wanted to end up,” said Davidson, a Buellton resident who is currently a manager at Lemos Feed & Pet Supply in Solvang. “I’m just thankful I did.”
Davidson learned that she would be a Hall of Famer shortly before Christmas. She got an early holiday surprise when she checked the voicemail on her cell phone and listened to a message from the USBC president letting her know that she would soon be enshrined with the sport’s strongest performers. “I got the message and I was like, ‘Whoa. What? Am I hearing this right?’” she said. “Then I made sure to save it. It was pretty cool.”
Along with her induction, Davidson also received a commemorative plaque for herself. That memento is currently on display at Zodo’s in Goleta, where she still participates in a winter league. She said she’ll take it home soon, but she appreciates that Zodo’s asked to display it for other Central Coast bowlers to see. She also received a Hall of Fame ring, which she proudly displays on her right pinky finger.
From 1988-93, Davidson won nine titles on the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour and Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour. Last year, she won the USBC Women’s Championships Scratch All-Events title. Davidson said that one of the more stressful aspects of her career was preparing her Hall of Fame induction speech, which she used mainly to thank those who helped her achieve her lifelong goal.
“I was unable to sleep at night because I was trying to get my speech together and make sure I didn’t forget anybody,” she said. “It was really nerve-wracking, honestly. But I got through it. It was an emotional night. I made people cry and that was good, because it’s not about me, it was about everyone else who gave me an opportunity to be in this position.”
She said she is sad to see the decline of bowling – the women’s tour ran out of money in 2003 – and the shuttering of lanes across America, but she is confident the sport will bounce back.
“Like everything else, it goes in cycles,” she said. “The economy hasn’t helped. It’s a recreational thing for a lot of people and they just can’t afford that extra money to go toward playing. They’re too busy paying their bills. In this particular area, I think it would definitely be a success. Hopefully, they can make it happen. I’d actually practice more.”
Although she isn’t bowling as much, Davidson said that she is enjoying life in the Valley and working at Lemos.
“I love it,” she said. “I love the people and the animals. I never thought I’d be in retail afterwards, but it’s kind of fitting because I’m a people person.”
It helps that she has a boss who allows her to still hit the lanes when she needs to.
“He knows how important it is to me, so he let’s me have the time off to do it and that’s really cool,” she said. “Not many bosses would do that.”