Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seniors Find the 'Wii' in Team Sports at Library Senior Sports Program Rolls out Latest in Electronic Game Technology

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seniors Find the 'Wii' in Team Sports at Library Senior Sports Program Rolls out Latest in Electronic Game Technology

Article excerpt

Virginia Kotow needs a walker for walking, but now she's bowling and playing tennis and is considering taking up baseball and golf.

Mrs. Kotow, 89, of Bethel Park, was consistently bowling strikes and spares on a recent outing at the Peters Township Public Library. She's having fun, getting some exercise, learning new skills and making new friends. All of this is accomplished with video games and the help of teenage volunteers.

The Wii Sports for Seniors program, using the Nintendo Wii, started June 9 when seven seniors -- including Mrs. Kotow -- showed up. They all came back for more sessions and they spread the word, swelling the Wii ranks to 18 seniors.

Teen volunteers show them how to use the Wii-mote, a lightweight motion-detecting controller that is swung like a tennis racket, baseball bat, bowling ball or golf club. The seniors watch their game played out on a large flat screen television in the library's new teen room, which opened in May.

"The first week they showed us baseball, golf and bowling," Mrs. Kotow said.

"The ball comes in too fast for me in tennis. We want to bowl," she told volunteers Andy Weaver, 16, and Katie Shultz, 15, both of Peters, and Alex Barndollar, 14, of Bethel Park.

Volunteers dutifully set up the bowling game and patiently gave instructions to first-time Wii players.

Dorothy Kinkus, 74, of Canonsburg, was having an amazing run on strikes and spares in just her second outing. But she admitted she came back to the library three times in the last week to practice.

"I decided I needed some exercise," said Mrs. Kinkus, who actually prefers the tennis game. "I am not a sports person. I always hated exercise because it is boring, but this is fun."

Mrs. Kotow said, "I did bowl in my younger days and I went roller skating and ice skating." She also, in the past, taught line- dancing at the Community College of Allegheny County. …

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