With her eyes fixed on the lanes before her, Louise Fawcett lowers her hand, swings and watches as a ball strikes pins that tumble down. “Nice spare,” calls an encouraging female voice. Fawcett chuckles and prepares to do it again.
This may sound like a typical game of bowling except that Fawcett isn’t holding a ball and the lane and pins, strikes and spares all play out in a virtual world.
Fawcett will be among a large contingent of competitors who will be pioneers in this year’s DeKalb Senior Olympics. They will compete in Wii bowling—the first time it will be played in these games locally.
Jackie Swain, DeKalb parks program coordinator, said that when she learned of the sizeable number of Wii participants locally and following her viewing a TV report on the interactive game, she figured it would be a good fit.
Some 43 competitors have signed up for Wii bowling out of a total of 200 participants in this year’s DeKalb Senior Olympics. The games opened on May 10 and run though May 20 at various locations throughout the county.
Fawcett, 78, said she first played Wii bowling about five years ago after she became acquainted with it through her grandchildren. “It was so much fun. You don’t have to have any bowling skills,” said Fawcett. “We were hooked on it.”
She became a fan not only of Wii bowling but also other Wii games and activities. “It’s very exciting, so realistic, particularly the golf.”
However Fawcett said it was her husband Floyd, 72, who had a vision of using the popular virtual game as a physical therapy activity. He suggested that the Park Springs retirement community where they reside in Stone Mountain incorporate Wii into their recreation offering. They did.
Now some 85 Park Springs residents play Wii bowling weekly on the 50-inch televisions in the community hall; their league season just ended. Floyd Fawcett notes that several people in wheelchairs and who use walkers are among their teammates. In fact, at Park Springs during the past three years some 180 people have participated in league and open bowling, according to Floyd Fawcett, who’s also signed up for the senior games. The Fawcetts say their score in Wii bowling averages about 170-180.
“You would be amazed at the competitive spirit,” said Floyd Fawcett, who speaks with pride about former couch potatoes who are now up and moving.
And while he suspects that the majority of Wii bowling Senior Olympic competitors will be Park Springs residents, he also wonders if a contingent from the Lou Walker Senior Center might give them a run for their money.
Park Springs will be the site of Wii bowling for the DeKalb Senior Games on May 19.
And Louise Fawcett is no stranger to competition.
In 1999, she successfully trounced her competition and was crowned Ms. Senior Georgia.