When Nick Maile died a week ago at age 58 he had survived longer than expected after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about three years ago.
"He really fought hard," Mike Faliero Jr. said the other day when recalling the life of his good friend. "That showed the type of competitiveness he had."
Nick Maile Jr. won the George A. Obenauer Masters bowling championship in 1991, defeating Jonathan Carlton in the finals at Thruway Lanes. That year, Maile and Faliero shared the Buffalo Bowling Association Bowler of the Year honors, the first of only two times that there were co-winners of the award.
That was only natural because Maile and Faliero were roommates on the PBA Tour for a while, teamed up in doubles to win a City Tournament title and bowled together on championship teams in the State Tournament.
"We traveled together on the tour in 1986 and we both got our first-ever PBA checks together," Faliero, now the manager at Broadway Sports Center, said. "It was the AC Delco Classic in Union City, California. We were doubles partners in the ABC a lot of years and we bowled in a lot of states and national events together."
"We first met at Pete Cambio's Pro Shop on South Park Avenue in 1981. That's how we became friends," Faliero said. "I was a neighborhood kid from there and would show up on the doorstep every day."
Nick Maile was more than a bowler. With his height and wild curly hair (his nickname was "Bush" according to the 1976 Lancaster High Yearbook), he was easily identifiable in the team pictures. Maile played volleyball, bowled and played on the baseball team. He also was a member of the marching band.
"He was 6-3, and a left-hander," Faliero said. "He once had professional baseball aspirations and had a tryout with the Mets, I think."
Maile was a passionate Buffalo sports fan -- all the teams, Bills, Sabres and Bisons. He also enjoyed golf and fishing.
Maile and Faliero usually made sure to bring their fishing gear along when they traveled to tournaments.
"He just did it all," Faliero said.
Maile and Alan Runkel shot a 1,328 to win the doubles in the 1984 City Tournament. In 2009, Maile and Faliero teamed to win the Scratch Doubles in the City Tournament. Maile bowled well (203-207-257-667) but Faliero shot 240-278-257-775 to lead the team to the title. Their scratch score was good enough to finish fourth in Handicap Doubles.
In 1992, Maile won two titles in the City Tournament with a 721 in Singles and a 1,942 in All-Events.
Maile and Faliero bowled with Rich Maloney, Carl Kinyon and Steve Lenegan to win the Team title in the 2005 New York State Tournament.
After graduating from Lancaster, Maile went on to Canisius College and was a mainstay on the bowling team there. After Canisius, he worked in the family moving business and when that was sold later worked in the insurance business.
After he and Faliero won the City doubles in 2009, Maile was not very active. In 2010, he averaged 213 in the competitive Berghold Electric League at Clarence Bowling Academy but pretty much was inactive.
Maile was survived by his parents Nick Sr. and Karen, his widow, Peggy, and two daughters, Melissa DePlato and Nicole Maile, and three sisters.
"He was super proud of Melissa and Nicole," said Faliero, who is godfather to Nicole.
X-Australia's Jason Belmonte, at age 33, officially will become the 47th member of the PBA "Millionaire Club" when he bowls Sunday in the match-play finals of the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship in Portland, Maine. Bowling with Bill O'Neill, Belmonte is assured of winning more than the $2,000 he needs to exceed $1 million in PBA Tour earnings. Youngest player to reach $1 million was Pete Weber, who was 26 in 1989 when he got there in his 253rd Tour event. Belmonte is bowling in only his 131st PBA Tour event and will become the fasted to reach a million. Wes Malott is the current record holder, hitting the $1 million mark in his 180th event.
X-North Tonawanda's John Szczerbinski and his NYC WTT King Pins have the No. 1 seed for the L.L. Bean PBA League Team Championships quarterfinals which will be bowled today at Bayside Bowl in Maine.
X-Buffalo native Tom Baker is still active and winning. Baker defeated Steve Jones of Berlin, Md., 2-0, in their best-of-three final at the PBA50 AMF Frederickburg (Va.) South Open. It was his 34th PBA regional title. Baker defeated Jones, 277-268 and 279-214, for his 17th victory as a PBA 50 player. Baker earned $2,200 for his victory. In the semifinal, Baker defeated Todd Hamey of Boiling Springs, S.C., 2-0.
X-AMF Airport Lanes will be the venue for next weekend's Greater Buffalo Senior Singles Tournament. The City Open and Women's Championships will begin April 25 at AMF Lancaster Lanes in Depew. The 54th annual George A. Obenauer Masters championship is set for Kenmore Lanes May 16-21.
X-Melanie Hannon (Maryvale) and her Fairleigh Dickinson team got off to a good start Thursday in head-to-head round robin-play in the NCAA Championships in Baton Rouge, La.. FDU won three of its first five matches with victories over Arkansas State, Sam Houston State and Maryland-Eastern Shore. Hannon, who averaged 200.8 the first day, shot 237 against Sam Houston. Friday, however, FDU lost to Nebraska and Vanderbilt. Hannon shot a 205 against Vandy and averaged 196.6.
FDU was seeded for double-elimination match play which began on Friday. Six of the eight teams participating in this year's championships are past winners, including FDU, the 2014 winner.