Playing the Wii

MONMOUTH — Last week four seniors competed in a bowling tournament at Legacy Estates — on the Nintendo Wii.

The Wii is a popular entertainment activity amongst seniors in the Monmouth area. Legacy Estates, Courtyard Estates and the Monmouth Nursing Home each use the modern video game system which features a motion control remote.

Goldie Huffman won a recent tournament at Legacy. She bowled when she was younger, but over time she lost the ability throw a heavy ball down a lane. She now bowls sitting down using the Wii. At first she said she was afraid to bowl on the Wii because she was worried she would fall.

“I never heard of it before,” she said. “When they said I could bowl I said I would fall over. He (a former employee at Legacy) said I could sit down.”

Huffman also can use both hands to bowl.

At Courtyard Estates of Monmouth, Florence Bolender also enjoys the gaming system. She said she used to bowl in a league when there was a bowling alley on N. A St. She even once attended a national tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind., but like Huffman she had to give up the hobby because she was afraid of falling. On the Wii she is able to bowl again.

“I can do it on the TV,” she said. “All I have to do is swing my arm.”

Bolender has set a goal for herself. She would like to bowl a 200. Courtyard activity director Toni Tatro, said the Wii has been popular at that facility since a test run a couple of years ago. She said originally the facility didn’t intend to buy a Wii, but the system was so popular that Courtyard decided to get one. They held a bake sale to raise the money.

“They scream like you wouldn’t believe,” she said after a strike or spare, “You can hear us all the way down to the office. We all get carried away. We have a very good time.”

Betsy Gillette of Monmouth Nursing Home, said many of her residents aren’t able to use the Wii, but enjoy watching those who can.

“A lot like to sit and watch rather than play,” she said. “I think it is a visual and hearing thing.”

Huffman has tried to recruit friends to play with her. Recently Legacy residents, Penny Mills and Helen Hayes started bowling on the Wii.

“I throw it so high it wrecks the floor,” Hayes said.

Hayes also used to bowl in a league. She said she enjoyed picking up an old hobby.

Another Legacy resident named George said he liked the game because it allowed him to “get out of the house.”

Penny Mills said she believed the Wii would be a great tool for young children.

“If someone had a big home and a big screen and TV it would be a great thing for kids,” she said.

Huffman agreed. She uses the Wii to bridge four generations. Whenever her great-granddaughter comes to visit they play together.

“We go down and bowl while her grandmother works on things,” she said.