Victorian Village resident and Wii bowler Geneva DeBerg, right, celebrates a strike with Life Enrichment Assistant Patrice Leeson.
HOMER GLEN, Ill. (March 2015) — Shirley Dyke stepped up, eyed the pins, and opened Week Six of the Victorian Village Wii bowling league with a perfect strike.
In this bowling league, chairs and wheelchairs are positioned around the TV as if around a lane, and each bowler moves front and center to take his or her turn. What started as part of the fitness program has turned into a well-attended and competitive league, complete with team names and league t-shirts.
The league is made up of seven teams of four bowlers each, and four subs fill in when needed. Members come from each part of campus: the townhomes, independent living, assisted living, and even memory care. Next year, Life Enrichment Director Connie Jaros is hoping to include residents from the newly opened Small Houses, which serves people in need of skilled nursing care.
Everyone is welcome; each bowler is coached by teammates and assisted by life enrichment staff as needed.
The eight-week season started at the end of January, and games are played on Mondays and Tuesdays. The end-of-season banquet and awards night will be March 31.
Standings are kept throughout the season; Jaros tracks not only the standings, but also team and individual averages.
Standings are also closely tracked by the most competitive members. And even those whose teams aren’t faring well can maintain their competitive spirit by tracking their own stats, like Annette Hulford does.
“I’m better on Wii than I ever was at regular bowling,” she said. She’s averaged a 140-145 through the last couple years, and is up to a team-high 158 this season. That average would be higher, she said, if she hadn’t thrown so many splits early in the season.
This is the league’s fourth year, and it’s been steadily growing. Dyke joined the league last year after a friend suggested it over lunch — and her rookie season was an impressive one.
“I was on the winning team,” she said.
The winners are awarded trophies at the end of the season, and medals are given out for other accomplishments – such as most improved bowler, most spares and strikes, and the person who laughs the most.
That last award could easily go to Frances Loeb, a member of the Pep Girls team, who can’t get through a turn without giggling.
“I used to bowl – 60 years ago!” she said.
That’s a common theme among the league members. “They really like bowling, because most everybody has bowled at some point,” Connie said.
And while most agree that Wii bowling is not quite the same, they also add that it’s just as fun — especially when they’re throwing a 10th-frame turkey, like Frank Costello did in his first Week 6 game.
“I’ve bowled all my life,” he said. “This is different, but I really enjoy it.”
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