Chris Ofilos began his participation in the Greek-American Bowling League in 1963.
A half-century later, Ofilos, retired principal of Cobbet Elementary School, is still competing and thoroughly enjoying his weekly bowling league with his friends and associates at Jim Barber’s Lucky Strike Lanes on Buffum Street.
Ofilos, 75, said it was the late Arthur Fiste, a well-known basketball coach and Lynn School Committee member, who founded the league 50 years ago.
“Arthur Fiste was the athletic director at St. George Church and we were meeting at the Sunnyside [luncheonette] across from the church,” recalled Ofilos, a 1956 graduate of Lynn Classical. “Arthur said, ‘Would you guys like to start a bowling league?’ “Arthur never bowled, but he’s the one who came up with the idea.”
Chris Ofilos and Charlie Spyropoulos took Fiste’s idea and launched the league in 1963 at Metro Bowl in Peabody. The league moved to Lucky Strike Lanes in Lynn in 1966 and “we’ve been here ever since.”
Ofilos was asked how the league has stayed in existence while others have since folded. There are 40 bowlers in the league.
“Basically because of the people who have been running it, the league has succeeded,” replied Ofilos. “Charlie and I did it for the first 20 years. Arthur Hatgis and Louie Mitsiaris took it over for about 25 years and the last 4-5 years Nick Markos and Steve Kotsakis have run the league very well.”
“I just love to bowl,” said Kotsakis. “It’s been a part of my life for 27 years and I’ve made so many great friends and I’ve enjoyed competing and having fun.”
Ofilos and his wife, Claire, a retired schoolteacher, have three daughters. Like all in the Greek-American and Lynn community, Ofilos fondly remembers legendary Lynn Classical athlete, Harry Agganis.
“Harry was an idol to us,” said Ofilos. “We were so saddened when he died at such a young age.”