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Steve Wilson has turned his back on his love affair with bowling.

Wilson, the best bowler to start his career in Broward County, started bowling when he was 5, joined an adult league at age 16 and became a member of the Professional Bowlers Association when he turned 18.

He became a PBA member in 1986 but only made a few cameo appearances on the national tour until 1992 when he cashed in eight of 12 events.

Steve Wilson.jpgNow — 345 events, four national titles, 17 regional titles and over $800,000 later — the thin, 5-10 right-hander has called it a career after failing to make the exempt list for the 2006-07 tour season.

“I only had one good week on tour last season, and at times I felt I had forgotten how to bowl,” he said despite winning $58,710.

Not only was his physical game suffering, but he was missing wife Sherri and daughters Sarah and Emma who toured the country with him until they came of school age. “I missed my family when I was touring without them, it was not like it used to be.”

I first met Steve Wilson when he still was a junior bowler tearing up adult rivals in Broward County and Sherri was there to cheer every strike — and they came often and in bunches.

Everyone knew he was destined for a pro bowling career.

“It absolutely was my dream to bowl on the PBA tour,” he said.

“I never thought about doing anything but bowling because it was something I always liked to do,” Wilson said Thursday night from his Lake Worth home. “I was lucky enough to make a living bowling on tour for 14 years, but now it’s time to move on.”

He hasn’t even bowled in leagues since the tour finished in April and may not retain his PBA card which he needs so he can continue to bowl in PBA regional tournaments — especially those held in Florida.

He is now working for UPS in Riviera Beach.

“The job and spending time with my family is keeping me busy,” so he doesn’t have time to miss bowling.

But bowling will miss Steve Wilson.

He was a class act on and off the lanes.

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