Norman Sobecki Inducted 1992 - Class of 1946
Who hasn't passed Norm Sobecki's Showcase Lanes on Monroe Street and felt pride because a Woodward graduate succeeded as an area businessman?
As a member of the Class of 1946, the bowling guru was billed as the "perfect gentleman" in his senior SAGA. This gentleman had his humble beginnings in what is now the Polish Village and attended St. Adalbert Elementary School.
As a youngster, his interest and proficiency in bowling increased rapidly. By the time he was thirteen, Norm was already more than comfortable in the bowling alley. As a member of the Hi-Speed Midgets, Norm, with other area youngsters, traveled around Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan giving bowling exhibitions.
During his senior year, Norm's ability on the bowling lanes was lauded in many TATTLER articles
including the following: "Norm Sobecki High Man with 569 Points" and "All laurels for the morning were taken by Norm Sobecki of Woodward. Norm got the highest total of the day by racking up two consecutive games worth more than 200 pins each and a third for 158, amounting to a 569 series." He joined a team of high schoolers who participated in the American Bowling Congress' tournament in Buffalo, New York, and was also a member of the youngest team ever to compete in its tournament.
Norm, however, was not a one-sport man. With eighteen years experience on the baseball diamond, Norm was chosen to captain Woodward’s baseball team his senior year. This was after baseball's five-year hiatus at WHS. A TATTLER article introducing the team said Norm "looms as a prospective star." The story continued with "a lot is expected of Norm Sobecki who is a hard hitting outfielder but who may be the team's regular hurler."
Actually one of Norm's fondest memories of WHS athletics did not involve his participation. "As a freshman, our football team beat Waite for the first city victory in eight years. We took the goal posts and threw them in the river and danced in the streets," Norm said.
The kegler also remembers the good times he enjoyed with his best friends, Mike Miller, Clarence Veler, Jack Kennedy, Norm Fox, John Kornowa, Jim Wilusz, and Bob Wysocki.
Six years after he graduated, Norm married Beatrice Lesczynski. Following the birth of their first son, Norm served in the Army for two years. Upon returning to Toledo, Norm was employed by the City of Toledo's Engineering Division and worked as the assistant manager of Glass Bowl Lanes.
In 1963, Imperial Lanes opened with Norm as the general manager. During his tenure at Imperial, he was tournament host to ten professional events which aired on national television. Trying his hand as an entrepreneur, he broke ground for Showcase Lanes in 1974. He has been the managing partner since its opening the following year.
Norm's own bowling career has many highlights. He was a franchise member of the Toledo Times Traveling Classic for over twenty years serving as president for seven. He won two city doubles titles as well as the Harold Burnham Memorial Tournament. Norm was President of the Greater Toledo Bowling Proprietors Association for five years. The pinnacle of Norm's bowling career came in 1979. On his fifty-first birthday, he was inducted into the Toledo Bowling Hall of Fame for superior performance.
Norm has four sons, Norman, Jeffrey, Greg, and John, and seven grandchildren. He is a member of the Sylvania Country Club and spends his free time golfing and, of course, bowling.