Jim Levens of Grass Valley is working his way back from a disc surgery that sidelined his love of bowling throughout the summer.
But Levens has been through setbacks before, and always finds a way to come back to the sport.
Though Levens has been sidelined at various times of his bowling career, he said it is never easy to stay away from the sport that for a seven-year stretch had been his main source of income. During his banner year of 1963, Levens placed in the money in every bowling event he entered, winning the prestigious Cary Grant Tournament of Champions in Los Angeles.
Later that same year, however, a car accident fractured his back.
“I also didn’t bowl from 1989 to 1997,” Levens said. “That time, I had a tendon operation on my elbow, and after that I couldn’t compete with the good bowlers, so I quit. When I moved up to Grass Valley in 1997 and bowled with the seniors, my game came back before the slipped disc.”
Levens, who says his game has always been around a 200 average, fought through the pain of the slipped disc for two years before having the surgery July 9.
“I wanted to have the operation to see if I can get back to being a decent bowler again,” Levens said. “First month I was told not to do anything, and then I could do what I felt I could do.”
Levens has ventured out for a game of bowling once in a while, but he wants to pace himself so that someday in the near future he can return and compete in high-stakes bowling tournaments, such as the ones held in Las Vegas.
“By the beginning of the year, I’d like to get back to being a 200 bowler,” Levens said. “I enjoy coming (to Prosperity Lanes) to watch good bowlers, but I’d rather do it.”
Bill Telley of Alta Sierra, along with teammates Bob Anderson and Fred Taylor, captured the Sons In Retirement summer league bowling title Thursday at Prosperity Lanes.
The trio managed to come out on top, despite the fact that most of the teams they faced in the league that began in May were comprised of four players.
“Having only three players was a bit of a disadvantage, because with the fourth score set for us at 140, we missed one more opportunity to have a player get hot,” said Telley.
Telley, 72, said his average this year is 157 at Prosperity Lanes. Thursday, Telley had a tough first round, and followed that up with two rounds around his average to help his team, the Bowl Weevils, capture the crown.
“It must have been all that pressure,” Telley said with a smile. “We all come out here more for the fun than the competition.”
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.