Lewinstill on a roll

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
— One of the sweetest sounds in sports is the clash of 10 pins falling at once. When you hear a strike, you know what is it, immediately.

For a bowler, one strike leads to an addiction. You get one strike; you lust for another and another.

Rick Lewin of Janesville got hooked on strikes and settled for nothing less.

“I’ve been bowling a lot of years,” said Lewin, who was the king of the local league- bowling season in the mid-’80s through mid-’90s. “I had the high average in the city for 10 or 12 years.’’

Lewin was at the top of his game in 1992.

“I won the points standings and year-end Madison Area Scratch Tournament,” said Lewin, who is a partner in Recreational Concepts, a pool building and remodeling company. “That was ’92. It’s a new game, and now I’m just an old dog trying to learn new tricks.’’

High game, high series, high average and over-the-top high intensity marked Lewin’s reputation.

“Anybody that bowls (locally) pretty much knows my name,” Lewin said. “My reputation was sometimes not all that great. I used to be a hothead in my younger days, but I don’t do that anymore. I have not been that ball-return kicking guy that I used to be.’’

Despite his temper, Lewin earned respect because he could bowl the lights out. Fellow bowlers whispered in his ear that he should turn pro, and he wanted that dream real bad.

“I used to have the dream of going out on the tour,” Lewin said. “I bowled a couple events as a nonmember.’’

While Lewin could scorch the local lanes, the tour lanes were mean, and the competition was keener. Lewin realized he was just another guy chasing an elusive dream.

“It was a rude awakening,” Lewin said.

At 52, Lewin has mellowed, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make noise at the local house.

On Sunday, Feb. 6, Lewin rocked a city-high 854 series in El-Ra Bowl’s Sunday AM 4-Man league. Lewin posted scores of 279, 279 and 296, which put together is 33 out of a possible 36 strikes. Lewin topped his career-best 847 series.

“It just kind of came to me,” said Lewin, who just missed his 34th 300. “My stroke just came back. My legs were strong, and my timing was a lot better.’’

Lewin has been averaging 245 on Sunday at El-Ra, and he has marked nine 700 series through the past 12 weeks. Last Sunday, Lewin rolled a 723 (259, 241, 223).

Lewin said he owes his resurgence to a healthier lifestyle.

“I finally got a membership to a health club, and I feel a lot stronger,” Lewin said. “It’s the best year I’ve had in the last five.’’

With added vigor, Lewin has been bowling more.

“I’ve been bowling more frequently,” Lewin said. “I help run a handicap singles tournament at Cougar Lanes.’’

Lewin was not a fan of the technical changes in bowling, but he is a convert now.

“I used to be down about it,” Lewin said. “The resin balls and oiling machines that make the lanes more scoreable. Sometimes, it’s a rude awakening.’’

Lewin has had his own awakening, and he is hearing bowling’s sweetest sound loud and clear.

Last updated: 4:18 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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