Longtime Schenectady resident Florence “Flo” Dufek is an equal opportunity bowling administrator and coach.
Dufek, who has served as a member of the local women’s, men’s and junior association board of directors, was recently elected into the Schenectady-Scotia USBC Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame for meritorious service.
Besides her administrative work on the various boards, and as a longtime secretary and league officer, Dufek’s claim to fame was as a junior bowling instructor for more than 30 years.
“I’ve had so many great bowling experiences over the years, but I would say that the things I remember most are meeting some great people and teaching so many juniors how to bowl,” she said. “One of my juniors, Peter Konrad, has shot a couple of 300s already, and I started him out in the game from day one.”
Dufek, who moved to Clifton Park a few years ago, was only the second woman ever to belong to the high-powered City Catholic league, where she is currently the treasurer, and she is also the longtime secretary of the Schenectady Dorp Mixed league.
“I’ve been involved in so many leagues over the years, and I was on the SSWBA board of directors for a long time before retiring just a couple of years ago,” she said. “I got as high as vice president in the women’s association, and I also served on the men’s SBA board for several years. I finally had to give up serving on the SBA board because of some personal family commitments.”
Although she has done a lot for the sport over the last three decades, she started late.
“I’ve spent about 40 years or so in Schenectady, but I was actually born in Cobleskill and my family moved to Schenectady when I was just a baby,” Dufek said.
“I didn’t start bowling until I was 30 years old. I got married out of high school, and when my kids grew up and were in school, I wanted something to do during the day. But I also wanted to be home by the time they got back from school. So I joined the Morning Glories league on Friday mornings. That league is still in existence.”
Dufek, who really knew nothing about the sport when she first picked up a ball, said she had plenty of help learning the game.
“My first lesson actually came about when [Rolling Greens proprietor] Fran Lawyer asked me to attend a coaching school down in Kingston with her. They were going to teach juniors how to bowl, and they needed some coaches. I told her I wasn’t that good, but she said it was OK and that I would learn everything I needed to know.”
When Dufek got to the clinic, she was throwing a back-up ball, and she wanted to learn how to throw a hook. One of the instructors taught her how to get rid of the back-up shot, and she was on her way.
Dufek eventually got further instruction from Bob Tedesco Sr., Bob Tedesco Jr. and Peggy Were. Her game improved dramatically, and she averaged as high as 201.
Although her Hall of Fame induction was based on her meritorious service, her game has been solid for decades. She has won numerous medals in both the Empire State Games and the Empire State Senior Games.
In other SSWBA news, Bonnie Arbitrio was selected as Secretary of the Year, and Marie Moorhead was honored for rolling her first 700 triple during the SSWBA City Championship.