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Richard “Rick” Parker is a military veteran who has been an avid bowler since 1963. He bowled in several leagues, including one at Bowl America Silver Hill, where in the mid-1980s he took over from George Yarborough the administrative duties of the Silver Hill Strikers League, in which his son, Sean, and daughter, Renee, learned how to bowl. Rick enjoyed watching the kids and youth bowling so much that he decided to become a youth coach—ultimately a Bronze Level coach—and he served as a coach in the league’s Prep division and as a coach director on the Vir-Mar District youth board.
After Bowl America Silver Hill closed in 1992, Rick refused to see the program fold and moved the league to Fair Lanes Clinton. The league was so big that he ran two shifts yet still had to turn away bowlers. As a result, after just one year in Clinton, he relocated the league to Fair Lanes (now AMF) Marlow Heights, its current home.
He remained in charge of the league until his “semi-retirement” in 2008. However, after assisting his replacement over the next two seasons, he again returned to the leadership position to stabilize the league.
In his leadership role, Rick boosts the self-esteem of less-confident bowlers, and he always sets the bar high for all bowlers and challenges them to reach their goals. He also encourages the more-talented bowlers to help those with low averages and urges youths who hope to attend college to apply for scholarships.
Rick also has long been responsible for introducing many youth bowlers to tournament competition at events such as the association’s Youth Championship Tournament and Youth Invitational Scratch Singles. He even arranges for competitions outside of the area, including the TNBA Junior Eastern Regional and the Virginia State Tournament. For many of these events, Rick is involved in putting together schedules and organizing teams while always making sure to include all who wished to bowl, whatever their skill level, negotiating contracts with bus companies, and running fund-raisers to help lower costs to the bowlers. And when the price is still too high for some bowlers, he has been known to reach into his own pocket to assist.
Rick also is known to quickly push aside any credit thrown his way for the having the area’s largest youth league and usually the most tournament participants, not to mention the outstanding development of so many of these youth bowlers, both on and off of the lanes. He instead attributes any praise to his dedicated youth coaches, who through the years have volunteered faithfully, and to his administrative staff.
For his untiring and selfless service to youth bowling and youth bowlers, a special spot has been reserved for Richard “Rick” Parker in the NCAUSBCA Hall of Fame.