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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

Bourbonnais: 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 Promotional Products.
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 inductees.
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 Bandits.
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.

 

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