Feb. 8, 2009
It's Duluth vs.
Superior in bowling, and it's also father vs. son
By Louise Ernewein
When Cindy Levy takes her seat with the spectators
at today’s Duluth-Superior All-Stars bowling series at Landmark
Lanes in Superior, she’s going to have a hard call deciding
whom to cheer for.
Her husband, Mitch, will be leading off for the
Superior team, made up of this season’s top five bowlers in
Superior. Meanwhile, her son, Brian, will be doing the same for
the Duluth side after making the city’s top five.
“I will be a nervous wreck,” Cindy
said with a laugh. “I will be walking back and forth, saying,
‘I can’t watch,’ then watch them throw one ball,
then saying, ‘I can’t watch,’ again.”
Today will mark the culmination of many years
of bowling together for the members of the Levy family, who have
had many of their most precious memories created at the lanes.
Mitch, 50, started bowling at Stadium Lanes in
West Duluth at age 12 and introduced Cindy to the sport while they
“The day we got married, my team screwed
up and set up the city tournament for the same day, so they all
turned up at our wedding reception in their bowling shirts,”
reminisced Mitch, who will himself be bowling in a tournament on
the couple’s 29th wedding anniversary on March 1.
The couple spent more than a decade coaching the
youth bowling program at Stadium Lanes, and Cindy has played on
the women’s scratch team in the league and played at the women’s
Duluth-Superior All-Stars series on three occasions.
So it was only to be expected that their son,
Brian, should start bowling by the time he was 4, throwing his first
ball like a natural, Cindy recalled.
Within a couple of years, Brian, now 28, already
was competing at state competitions in the Twin Cities and rapidly
emulating his father’s success on the well-oiled maple wood
The family has always been a familiar sight at
Stadium Lanes, which is four blocks from their home.
“For many years, this was basically my second
home,” said Brian, whose wife, Jennifer, will be cheering
him on at today’s roll-off. “Everybody knew me. [My
parents] would be bowling, and I would be down the other end, bowling
without a care in the world.”
Randy Hill, who bought Stadium Lanes five years
ago and sought the opinions of Mitch and other bowlers on how to
improve the venue, said the Levy family was one of the unique stories
“They have lived their lives here,”
Hill said. “That’s what’s so fun; seeing all the
different layers of generations here. … It’s what’s
so nice about the sport. You can be 4 or 74; it’s good exercise
and fun for everyone to be involved.”
In 1998, while Brian attended Duluth Denfeld High
School, he was a member of the team that played in the Northern
Conference for the first time, coached by his father, among others.
“It was one of my most memorable years,”
Brian said. “I was captain of the team and took them to state
and won the state championship.”
And the passion for bowling did not end once he
Brian plays three nights a week at lanes around
Duluth and Superior, and Mitch and Cindy also vary their bowling
venues around the Twin Ports.
It helps both father and son maintain their impressive
statistics, with Brian having attained six 300 scores in his lifetime,
and three 299s. One of Mitch’s most treasured memories is
his first 300 (one of three he has rolled), when his wife, son and
daughter were present to witness the achievement. A score of 803
for a three-game series is also a precious recollection, and Mitch
has an engraved ring to commemorate the occasion, a habit popular
Father and son frequently partner for tournaments
and bowl together on the Twin Ports All-Stars team every Monday
This weekend, however, Mitch and Brian will be
on opposing teams and there’s a score to be settled from four
years ago, when both made the All-Stars series once before. Brian
won that round.
So, how does Mitch feel about stepping up on the
approach against his son?
“It feels great, you know,” he said
with a smile. “He actually must have listened to my coaching
all these years.”
Border bowling battle
The Duluth-Superior All-Star and Senior All-Star
matches take place at 1 p.m. today at Superior’s Landmark
Four teams of five bowlers from Duluth and Superior
will compete against each other for Twin Ports bragging rights.
Each squad also has an alternate.
The Superior All-Star teams swept the matches
between the two cities last year, but Duluth leads the All-Star
series 21-13, and the Senior All-Star series 5-2.