Mike DeStasio wins AWBA National Championship

June 25, 2011

Mike DeStasio of Lewes won the  American Wheelchair Bowling Association National Tournament held June 23 to 25 at the Shaw's Center in Brockton, Mass., taking his final roll-off challenge by a single pin.

Iron Mike, 50, finished first in the overall standings, then awaited a roll-off challenge game.

DeStasio, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in November 2008, has been a lifetime golfer, bowler and handball player. His stamina and strength over three days and 15 games of bowling with a 12-pound ball are nothing short of miraculous and a triumph of the human spirit.

The victory, although improbable, was never in doubt in Mike's mind. "I'm going there to win the tournament for my ALS buddy Larry O'Rourke," Mike said before the tournament began. "He taught me a lot about being tough."

Mike met Bill Buckner at the banquet. The former Boston Red Sox player is manager of the Brockton Rox minor league team. "He asked me if I was a baseball fan and I told him, 'Yes, the Mets,'" Mike said. "I  told him I remembered 1986 like it was yesterday, adding 'Thanks, Bill.'"

"Bill smiled and nodded; he was very gracious," Mike said.

Buckner is renowned in baseball for letting a ball go through his legs in game six of the 1986 World Series, enabling the Mets to move on to game 7, which they won by beating Roger Clemens.

Mike had a high game of 207 in the tournament with 542 as his high series.