Seniors Go Wild For Wii

The tournament attracted eight seniors of various skill levels. A blind draw was held, and a single-elimination format was selected to be completed in approximately 1.5 hours. As competitive as some of the seniors were, it was a fun and positive atmosphere. People had a great time with the new bowling system and told others at the center about the experience.

A second tournament was requested and held three weeks later that attracted 10 people.

The third tournament drew 15 bowlers. As more tournaments were planned, more people started learning to play so they could enter upcoming events.

The tournament format created a buzz about Wii bowling. An all-star team was selected, using the results of the tournaments. The all-stars competed with other senior Wii bowlers from centers all over the county. We quickly discovered that the other participants had much more experience than our seniors. It was obvious more practice was needed to be competitive with the other centers’ players.

Around the same time, members began to show an interest in putting together a Wii bowling league similar to their coin-operated, arcade bowling-machine league. The league replaced the smaller tournaments, and attracted more than 30 participants. Statistics were kept and posters were placed on the wall with the names of people who bowled three strikes in a row (a “turkey”), those who scored “300” games, and those who had other statistical achievements.

Seniors started bringing in their old bowling trophies to decorate the media center where the games were played. At the conclusion of the season, a banquet was held to praise the bowlers for their achievements.

The bowling league is now very popular and brings a lot of fun and excitement to the center. It’s become so popular that some seniors bought a Wii system, or received one as a gift, so they could practice at home.

So remember that — before canceling a program –s how people how to use the equipment properly, and offer fun opportunities to demonstrate newly acquired skills. It might make all the difference.

Chris Mackar has worked in day care, summer camps, sports camps and after-school programs. He is currently a Recreation Coordinator for the city of Painesville in Ohio. He can be reached via e-mail at cmackar@painesville.com.

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