2011 NSA / BPA Hall of Fame
NSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2011
(front row L-R) Cori Smith & Lynne Robbins (Back
row) Rick Latham, Terry Speed, Jacquelyn
Williams-Douglas & Harold Buck Healy
By Irv Porter & Gerry Gund
The 5th Annual Illinois NSA / BPA Hall of Fame
Induction banquet was held on December 3, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Express
in Bourbonnais with more than eighty people attending. Six new inductees
were enshrined into the Hall of Fame achieving the highest honor that
a softball/baseball player, umpire, coach, sponsor, director, or complex
can achieve in the state of Illinois. NSA / BPA Hall of Fame umpire
Bob Kerness served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies after those
in attendance were treated to a buffet style dinner prepared and served
by Homestead Restaurant in Kankakee.
Kerness opened the evening's program by thanking the Illinois NSA /BPA
sponsors which include Maximum Performance, Inc, Decker Sports, Homestead
Restaurant, Holiday Inn Express, Image Group, Weber Printing, and Xtreme
Kerness introduced Illinois NSA/BPA State Director Gerry Gund who spoke
briefly about the progress and direction of the Hall of Fame. Gund then
introduced and spoke a few kind words about each of the evening's 2011
Kerness then introduced the fifteen past inductees that were present
before bringing up the guest speaker Danielle "Z" Zymkowitz
(2B) of the 2011 NPF - National Pro-Fast-Pitch World Champion Chicago
Zymkowitz played her collegiate softball career at the University of
Illinois from 2008-2011. Zymkowitz collegiate accomplishments include:
2008 Illinois Gold Glove Award, 2009 NFCA All-American Third Team, 2009
NFCA Midwest All-Region First Team, 2009 Illinois' Most Valuable Player,
2009 Illinois Gold Glove and Igniter Awards, 2010 All-Big Ten First
Team, 2010 Illinois Gold Glove and Illini Power Awards, 2011 All-Big
Ten First Team, and 2011 NFCA Midwest All-Region First Team.
Zymkowitz said, "There is nowhere I would rather be on a Saturday
night than in a room full of people who love the sport of softball just
as much as I do." She went on to tell a story about a young girl
(herself) who dreamed of one day playing for the USA in the Olympic
Games. Zymkowitz said, "Softball is my life. I never have had a
real job, just softball 24 - 7." She went on to tell how she got
an opportunity to try out for the Chicago Bandits. She then looked up
their roster on-line and thought, "this is way out of my league.
I remember that little girl that dreamt about playing for the Olympic
team. I realize that this was my dream since I was little so I put on
my Illini practice gear one last time and tried out for the Bandits.
Many players left that tryout having to hang up their cleats for the
last time but not me. I couldn't get that smile off my face for days."
She closed her remarks by saying, "I am grateful to all of you
today especially the inductees' dedication and passion towards the game
of softball. You have all worked so hard to make the game better and
you definitely deserve the recognition tonight. I hope that one day
each and every girl will have the same opportunity that I have had to
follow her dreams. Thanks again."
Zymkowitz provided the opportunity for autographs and photos for all
attendees after the program.