November 27, 2014

Elyria
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Feeling like a kid again

Area seniors flock to mall’s virtual bowling tournament

BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE
Myrtle Slavik, 81 a resident at the Parma Care Center, takes a turn at bowling with the Nintendo Wii at Great Northern Mall.

NORTH OLMSTED — Ron Forystek didn’t let his old, repaired knees stand in the way of bowling.

Forystek, 72, of Westlake, took a break from his walk Friday at Westfield Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted to participate in a Nintendo Wii video game bowling tournament for seniors. He said replacing the heavy bowling ball with a light video game joystick gave him the opportunity to get back into the lanes of his younger years.

“I can’t remember the last time I bowled,” he said. “I forgot how fun it was.”

Those 50 and older were invited to play against each other — bowling five frames of Wii Sports virtual bowling in the tournament co-sponsored by Sunrise Senior Living, the Home Instead Senior Care Office and the I’m Game store at Great Northern.

The video game allows users to bowl from the comforts of a television with the flick of a wrist.Players direct their on-screen character to bowl by swinging the controller backward while holding the wireless joystick’s trigger button and then release the ball by swinging it forward and letting go of the trigger. Ball spin is added by tilting the controller.

“I think it’s awesome,” said 61-year-old Bonnie DiCarro, of Lakewood. “You don’t have to worry about the weight of the ball or feeling funny when the ball bounces down the alley.”

Kathi Greco, director of community relations for Sunrise Senior Living, said she and another co-worker discovered that residents enjoyed playing the game during an interactive exercise one day at the facility.

TOUGH COMPETITION

When it came to battling other senior citizens for first place in a Nintendo Wii bowling tournament, 61-year-old Bonnie DiCarro, of Lakewood, said no one else stood a chance.

“I’m really competitive,” she said. “I don’t like to lose at anything — poker, cards, you name it. Once I figure this thing out, I’m going to win."

In five frames of virtual video game bowling, DiCarro scored a 117 in five frames and won a trip for four to the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Mich. 

They’ve been using the game to stimulate the minds and bodies of their residents ever since and hold weekly open competitions to draw in other seniors from around the area.

The second- and third-place winners won $100 in prizes, and the top scorer won a trip for four to the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Kelley Nuttall, activities director for Parma Care Center Nursing and Rehab, brought a couple of her residents to try out the game and said she was impressed that even those in a wheelchair could play just as easily as those standing.

If her vote of approval wasn’t enough, one look at 75-year-old Marty Boniar’s face as he watched his ball barrel down the lane was evidence enough that the older generation had begun to sneak back into their younger days.

“I’m just getting the hang of this,” he told Nuttall. “Can I play again?"

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.