North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 18, 2009

Video games allow seniors to play competitively

By Melanie Patterson

The North Jefferson News

There was the gleam of competition in the eyes of the Alley Cats and the Kingpins last week in Kimberly.

The event was a Nintendo Wii bowling tournament, held in the dining room of the Kimberly Senior Center.

For those not familiar with Wii, it’s the interactive video game where players use a hand-held controller to simulate throwing a bowling ball, swinging a baseball bat or a tennis racket, or playing other games.

The Alley Cats were Kimberly’s own bowling champs, while the Kingpins were a visiting team from Oaks on Parkwood, a senior living community near Bessemer.

The Kingpins are something of traveling professionals.

“We go somewhere every month and play everybody,” said Susan Kennedy, wellness coordinator at Oaks on Parkwood. She was in Kimberly along with Oaks activities director Quena Mears and 10 senior citizens who made up the team.

There were eight Alley Cats, who lost the bowling tournament, but “not by a big margin,” according to Kimberly Senior Center director Jody Newman.

Team member Patsy Graben won the prize for being the highest scorer on the Alley Cats team.

Newman said the Kimberly seniors love Wii bowling for several reasons.

“It’s really good exercise,” said Newman. “The team members get really close and they get to know each other. They have the camaraderie of being on a team.”

Newman said the seniors enjoyed the tournament so much, they want to have others.

“Now other people want to join because they saw how much fun this is,” she said.