a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Props to senior citizens

Jeff Nystrom, a commissioner for the newly-organized National Senior League of Wii bowling, left, awaits the results of its championship match that left the Charleroi, Pa., team, whose members also are shown, in a disappointing second place.

By Scott Beveridge

CHARLEROI, Pa. – We are excited to announce it’s senior citizen week at this blog.

Yesterday, Travel with a Beveridge visited a senior citizens center in California, Pa., where older Americans were giving their brains a workout while singing Christmas carols in the German language.

The excitement peaked today in nearby Charleroi where members of Riverside Place Senior Center lost to Florida in the first National Senior League Wii bowling championship games.

Here is bit of the reporting of the match pulled from the Observer-Reporter newspaper:

Sighs of disappointment swept across (the room) when the four bowlers and about 30 of their fans learned Charleroi had fallen by 20 points.

“We did our best. We were the underdogs,” said Charleroi Wii bowler Cathy Martini, 52, of Roscoe.

No one cried. Rather, they immediately began to make plans to practice more and assemble a better team for next year’s championships.

The NSL was organized by Dennis Berkholtz of Atlanta, Ga. He played team handball in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics and wants to turn the senior Wii games into a business to provide more exciting activities for seniors, said Jeff Nystrom, an NSL commissioner who also lives in Atlanta.

Berkholtz may be onto something because, while the video gaming industry has been in a recession-era slump, Nintendo’s Wii grew in popularity among senior citizens, National Public Radio reported in July. The championship games even caught the eye of editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper, which dispatched a reporter and photographer to this small borough in the big city’s hinterlands to record the excitement.

Meanwhile, these new video bowling leagues attracted 186 teams from 24 states without a fee this year. Next year, though, it will cost $400 for a team to enter the contests.

“Wii makes it easy,” Nystrom said. “It keeps them active and it’s a great way for them to mingle.”

Larry Maraldo, 67, emerged as the most-valuable player for Charleroi, having “bowled” two perfect games. Cathy Cochran, 57, who has blurred vision, scored a number of strikes, too, despite her handicaps that also require her to use a wheelchair.

They had loads of fun. That’s all that counts. This blog will be hard-pressed to top this excitement tomorrow unless those kooky old ladies from Monongahela decide again to bare their shoulders for a naughty calendar to raise money for a good cause. It could happen.


Tom said...

...said Charleroi Wii bowler Cathy Martini, 52, of Roscoe.

Hang on...since when is 52 a "senior citizen"??

(Good story otherwise!)

Scott Beveridge said...

I asked the same question Tom. The league set the rules to allow 50 and up to play.

Tom said...

If they would let me buy into Medicare they could call me anything they want!

P.S.- I am a Californian (the state, not the town near you) but my parents were from Mon City, so I enjoy your Flickr pics and blog. Saw you on the Donora smog documentary a few months back, too. Keep up the good work!

Scott Beveridge said...

Thanks Tom.