Seniors feel the thrill of victory

The thrill of victory never gets old. Even when you are.

A group of septuagenarians, octogenarians and even a nonagenarian at the Astoria Retirement Residence in Port Coquitlam is still basking in the glory of its recent victory in the Sienna West Wii bowling championship.

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The semi-annual tournament is contested every fall and spring between teams of video game bowling enthusiasts from five retirement homes around Metro Vancouver.

The victory was especially sweet for the Astoria seniors as it was their second straight title after they had yielded the winner’s trophy for several years to a bunch of upstarts from White Rock, said Bob Ivens, the 86-year-old self-proclaimed Wii master of the group, who’s no stranger to perfect scores.

Ivens credits his ability to flick his wrist just right to guide the video ball to knock down all the digital pins to his affinity for real-life 10-pin bowling when he was much younger.

“It seems it’s my thing,” he said. “The muscle memory comes back.”

Sue Bolton, the lifestyle consultant at Astoria who has helped organize the tournament since it started in 2009, said that kind of physical and mental engagement is important for the facility’s elderly residents.

Anna Manning, a 93-year-old Wii bowler since she moved into Astoria in 2010, said the two or three practice sessions held in the activity room every week are a great reason to leave her suite.

“I just wanted to keep busy and not sit around,” she said, adding a smooth delivery is the key to her success at the virtual lanes.

Peggy Hobbs, 89, said she had trouble sleeping the night before the big championship tournament.

“It gets the adrenaline going,” she said. “It’s something you enjoy doing.”

Bolton said the tournament becomes a major social happening at whichever residence is hosting it, with other seniors filling the activity room to cheer on the 50 to 60 bowlers.

Terry Steemers, 89, said all the excitement “makes you feel at least a year younger.”

Astoria will defend its title next spring.

Bolton said she can hardly wait.


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