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August 21, 2005

Deaf bowler Hayse racks up achievements

From: Knoxville News Sentinel, TN - Aug 21, 2005


August 21, 2005

Bill Hayse makes it all look so easy.

A smooth swing of his arm, a quick snap of his wrist and a bowling ball slices down a lane at the pocket. Strike.

Then he smiles and shrugs his shoulders. Easy.

On the surface, it all seems easy for the Knoxville area's top-ranked bowler.

Take a closer look and you find a 55-year-old man who has dealt with a world of silence to enjoy life to the fullest.

Hayse, always a versatile athlete, is deaf.

In high school at Tennessee School for the Deaf in the late 1960s, he played football, basketball and track.

Right after graduating from TSD, he learned he had been selected to compete in the Deaf Olympics.

He hopped on a plane to Yugoslavia and came home with a bronze medal in the discus. Easy.

Hayse has gone on to be named to the TSD Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Bowling Hall of Fame.

He just keeps getting better.

"I started 34 years ago when a friend of mine invited me to go bowling," Hayse said through interpreter Dawn Munroe. "I was involved in a lot of things, but bowling is a lot easier as far as pain is concerned.

"I would be sore from baseball and basketball, but with bowling I can keep going until I'm 80 or 90. That's why I chose bowling."

Looks like Hayse made the right pick.

On his left hand, he wears two large gold rings. One is for bowling a 300. The other is for bowling an 800 series.

Those standards of bowling have become almost routine for Hayse.

"I've had 17 (300 games) and in the 800 series, I've done that four times," Hayse said. "My best three-game series was 859 and that was two months ago. That was a huge thrill for me."

Besides the bevy of 300 games, Hayse also has eight 299 games and six 298 game.

"My average this year is 233," Hayse said. "That's the highest I've ever had."

He just keeps rolling with the flow.

Out of TSD, he attended vocational school, received a degree in drafting and earned a job with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Along the way, bowling became a passion.

"A friend was telling me about some deaf bowling tournaments and that there were cash prizes," Hayse said. "So I started attending some of those.

"Every year, my average just got better and better."

In 1989, Hayse went to the National Deaf Bowling tournament for masters in Las Vegas.

"I had no losses and no one even close to me," Hayse said. "I've been around several different states, but I stopped traveling around in 1997.

"Everybody just got tired of hearing my name, so I decided to give somebody else a chance."

The next step was bowling's senior tour.

"I didn't make it (in the pros) until three or four years ago when I tried the senior tour," Hayse said. "I've cashed in seven out of 10 tournaments the last two years."

Surgery for a heel spur slowed Hayse slightly, but he's hoping to get more involved with the senior tour if a sponsor becomes available.

He just keeps playing at the game he loves. Good day, bad day: It's all relative.

"I just try to do what I can," he said. "I think I can do pretty much anything. I'm not afraid of challenges.

"I try to have a good attitude all the time. If I'm off one day and I stink, then it's my fault.

"If my first game is lousy, I'm not upset. I don't pack up and go home. I just try to make up for it and do better. I don't leave until it's over."

Hayse rolled his first 300 game in 1990 in Alabama. His 17th came in January.

One of Hayse's biggest thrills came when he made a visit to the National Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

"They had a computer display to see how many times you've hit 300, and my name was on there," he said. "I couldn't believe it."

Hayse credits his late father (Ralph) for inspiring his athletic endeavors.

Instilled was a belief deafness had no impact on what Hayse was capable of achieving.

He has fun. He makes it look easy. He just rolls with it.

"I'm not giving up," he said. "I'm continuing with my goal and I want to be successful.

"I just want to show people who I am. It doesn't matter if you're a good bowler or a lousy bowler, I just try to help people improve their game and have fun."

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