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Seniors Find Healthy Competition in Wii Bowling

Arté Resort Retirement Scottsdale, AZ | Feb 24, 2014, 10:09 a.m.
The Hot Shots, Late Bloomers, and Lucky Strikers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Feb. 18, 2014 – Jessie Clark used to go bowling once a week with her husband Bill. They bowled in a league arranged by AT&T, where Bill worked in Reno, Nev. So when Bill retired from the company in the early ‘80s, the couple also hung up their bowling shoes. Jessie took up painting and figured that her bowling days were behind her.

“That was way before anybody even thought about Wii bowling,” Jessie said.

Jessie, 87, and her team the Hot Shots are now competing in the regional championships of the National Senior League (NSL) Wii Bowling Competition. Jessie and her teammates compete from their home at Arté Resort Retirement, an independent and assisted living community in Scottsdale, against teams in the region over the internet.

“I hadn’t bowled any for thirty or forty years until I got into this,” Jessie said.

Jessie has now been Wii bowling for almost two years. After she asked Kim Koppert, the director of programming at Arté, if she would help organize a Wii bowling group, Kim discovered the NSL and posted a flyer calling for Wii bowlers.

“Now everyone wants to bowl,” Jessie said with a laugh. “Kim said that I created a monster.”

Indeed, the Hot Shots are not the only Wii bowling team from Arté. The Late Bloomers and the Lucky Strikers are also competing, and yet Arté is the only retirement community in Arizona that is represented in the Senior Wii Bowling Competition.

The NSL is in its fifth year of managing national Wii bowling tournaments for seniors. “We started the NSL to provide a competitive, fun, and entertaining atmosphere for seniors.” Dennis Berkholtz, NSL Commissioner said. “Over the past four years we have had more than 250 communities and over 4,000 senior Wii bowlers participate.”

Wii bowling teams compete in conferences of eight teams. For seven weeks, each team bowls against every other team in their conference once. Winners then advance to a playoff lasting one to three weeks. Teams post their scores online each Thursday night, and by Friday morning bowlers can see the results of their competition on the NSL website.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” Jessie says. “A lot of good camaraderie and a lot of people having fun.”

The tournament kicked off on Feb. 10. The Hot Shots won their first match and will find out whether they won their second match on Feb. 18. Jessie has a good feeling about it, because she posted her best score to date, a 246.

“It’s one of those things that just comes natural,” she says. “It will be interesting to see what happens and who wins this thing.”

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Lucky Strikers: Charlotte Bernstein, Dorothy Brzuskewicz, Ed Marble, Mary Dombroski, and Ellen Shuster (Missing: Pam Callahan)

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Late Bloomers: Margaret Kitto, Gert Drewnowski, Joan Smith, Carol Rathke, Margaret Ovian

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Hot Shots: Betty Bullock, Chuck Inglett, Art Budros, Inge Budros, Jessie Clark

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The Hot Shots, Late Bloomers, and Lucky Strikers

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