Team Shawnee reigns in Wii bowling competition
Looking at her remaining pins, Ginger Robinson didn’t have much hope.
She had knocked out everything but two on the back right and one on the far left — a 7-6-10 split. But, as she threw her “bowling ball” down the “alley” at the Shawnee Civic Centre, Robinson must have given it a little more oomph, because the force knocked down the two pins hard enough to send one flying to the left, taking out the third.
“Wooo!” she cheered. “That’s the first time I ever did that!”
Robinson was part of Team Shawnee, one of four teams participating in a bowling tournament Thursday at the Civic Centre gymnasium with the aid of projectors, screens and some Nintendo Wii gaming systems.
The teams also included a group from Shawnee Hills Senior Living, Sunrise Assisted Living in Lenexa and a Lenexa parks and recreation team, all competing for a trophy that event organizers hope will travel with the winning teams for future semi-annual tournaments.
Eric Ely, programming recreation specialist, said the Shawnee Wii bowling team members had signed up for the program through parks and recreation. They had met every Friday for six weeks earlier this year to play either Team Lenexa or the Shawnee Hills team, and Thursday the Sunrise team joined in for an end-of-program tournament.
The team has proven a good way for seniors to stay active in the winter months, Ely said.
“It’s really pretty cool,” he said. “These guys really like it… It’s a fun pilot program we’ve been testing out, and we’re maybe going to branch it out because other cities have been asking about it.”
Robinson said she first tried out the Wii with her daughter and grandchildren.
“I did a lot of bowling in leagues when I was younger, so I love to bowl,” Robinson said.
Her family decided then she needed to have the experience available at home.
“My daughter, for Christmas, gave me everything that was on the market,” she said.
Unfortunately, Thursday’s tournament was Robinson’s last day as a Shawnee resident; she was moving to West Virginia to live closer to her other daughter. But she said she hoped to get a Wii bowling group started in her new home, if there isn’t one there already.
Many of the other members of Team Shawnee said they also had experience from playing with their family, though they hadn’t expected to enjoy a video game so much at first.
“It helps get you off the couch and doing something,” said George Waugh, who joined the Shawnee team with wife Barb.
The team also proved a good way to make new friends and keep busy. Donna Bauer, who joined the team with her husband, Clarence, said she was glad she’d soon have warmer weather activities to help fill her time.
“It’s a good thing it’s summer, because I’m really going to miss this,” she said.
The city of Lenexa team has been getting together to play for about a year, though none of its members said they had a Wii at home.
“I had it on my Christmas list, but I didn’t get it,” team member Sandy McCarthy said.
The teams played each played two rounds, and the traveling trophy went to the highest average team score. With all of that at home practice, it was no surprise that Team Shawnee came out on top.
Ely said for the summer, parks and recreation is putting together a rolle bolle team for some outdoor fun, but Wii bowling would begin again in the fall.
“We’re just trying to give people an outlet – we’re trying to hit all demographics,” he said. “Kind of a new way to hit that demographic is through electronics. A lot of folks out there are learning to play because they’re playing with their grandkids, and this is just an opportunity where they can play with their peers.”