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Chuck Gannon became actively involved in local tenpin bowling in 1955 at age 8. This son of the late NCABA Hall of Famer Chuck Gannon Sr. was a product of one of the area's first sanctioned junior leagues, which was held in the late 1950s at Congress Park Lanes in the District, which was owned by his father.
While working as a pinboy at his father's establishment, Chuck developed into one of the area's top junior bowlers by age 14. The following year, he began bowling in ABC competition and recorded his first sanctioned 700 series a few days before his 16th birthday, which was then was a local record.
At age 16, Chuck became the youngest Association champion—a record that still stands—when he was a member of the winning team in the Washington City Tenpin Bowling Association Championship Tourney.
Chuck owns numerous local titles, including the 1976 Seminary Classic Singles Tournament and the 1981 Anchor Classic, which he won with a 777 series. In the prestigious Virginia Masters, he captained his team to three consecutive league championships (1980-81 to 1982-83). His 1982-83 team produced the fifth highest four-man team game in the nation (1,033), with Chuck contributing a 267.
The area's most senior PBA member (21 consecutive years), Chuck has been a finalist in several PBA regional events, as well as a casher on the national tour.
In 1981, many believed Chuck's bowling career had ended when he suffered two heart attacks. However, he returned to the lanes in the 1982-83 season and became the NCABA's fifth-ranked bowler. Before that, he had been consistently classified among the area's top bowlers.
Widely recognized as one of the most multi-talented individuals ever associated with the sport locally, Chuck's virtuosity extended to nearly every bowling-related discipline.
While owner of The Pocket Pro Shop in Alexandria from 1978 to 1981, he revolutionized area ball drilling. Chuck's extensive use of advanced fitting and measurement techniques, along with his off-label drillings and precise ball weighting skills—both of which only now are commonplace—brought ball drilling "out of the dark ages," according to one colleague. In addition, Chuck served as mentor to several ball drillers, including Larry O'Neill and Jerry Francomano of the Sports Plus/Carmen Don Pro Shop. Chuck is frequently remembered as "the godfather of ball drillers" in the area.
Chuck is a former member of the Bowling Writers Association of America whose work appeared in numerous publications. Several of his columns in the early 1980s bluntly questioned why local scoring in one of the nation's largest bowling markets paled in comparison to other major metropolitan areas. A direct result was that area proprietors paid more attention to lane maintenance techniques, and this paved the way for the development of youngsters seeking to participate on the PBA Tour who were now able to practice in a climate that strengthened their competitive potential.
Chuck, who was considered one the area's most naturally talented bowlers, retired from the game in 1983 because of extensive work-related commitments with the U.S. Postal Service, where he is an Operations Specialist, Senior at the National Postal Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Ironically, due to his retirement, he was largely unable to take advantage of the higher-scoring area environment that he helped create.
Chuck was a well-known gadfly regarding many issues within the bowling community. He was never afraid to approach "delicate" questions with vigor in search of solutions. Perhaps the most memorable issue, which resulted in a deluge of national newspaper and television coverage, was his disagreement with the PBA when he attempted to modernize their appearance guidelines program. In the 1975 Fair Lanes Open, Chuck's controversial disqualification for wearing a neatly trimmed beard, although covered by an "artificial chin" prepared by a makeup artist (facial hair was prohibited below the corner of the mouth) stimulated dialogue by PBA members which continues to this day.
Dubbed "the genius of functional instruction" by BOWL Magazine columnist Gary Parsons, Chuck, a certified bowling instructor, was well known for refining the skills of high average and professional bowlers. However, Chuck also made time to convey his advanced knowledge and techniques to women bowlers, who until then were mainly excluded from top-level instruction.
Chuck frequently and unceremoniously donated his time, talent, and pro shop products to youth organizations and other worthy causes within the industry. Perhaps his best-known effort was his participation in 1979 in a nationally distributed television commercial for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Chuck Gannon's exceptional bowling talents, combined with his untiring efforts to promote and improve our sport—and many of its participants—make him a most unique and outstanding addition to the NCABA Hall of Fame.