Wii bowling tourney a hot ticket for seniors in Kent

Willy Metzker quickly discovered what he likes best about Nintendo Wii bowling. “You don’t need bowling shoes, balls or a bag,” Metzker, 69, said during a break Wednesday at a South King County Wii bowling tournament at the Kent Senior Activity Center. “It’s all self-contained. It’s terrific.”

Kent’s Carpet Bowler Haru Hiranaka faced a Des Moines team during the league tournament at the Kent Senior Center.

Kent’s Carpet Bowler Haru Hiranaka faced a Des Moines team during the league tournament at the Kent Senior Center.

Willy Metzker quickly discovered what he likes best about Nintendo Wii bowling.

“You don’t need bowling shoes, balls or a bag,” Metzker, 69, said during a break Wednesday at a South King County Wii bowling tournament at the Kent Senior Activity Center. “It’s all self-contained. It’s terrific.”

Ninety-six players from 24 teams competed in the second annual tournament following 12 weeks of regular-season play. The teams represented 10 senior centers from Burien to Bonney Lake.

The bowlers swung a small, white remote control at a television screen rather than rolling real balls at pins. The game keeps getting more and more popular: just 16 teams competed in the first tournament, which took place last year at a Tukwila casino.

“It’s exactly like you’re bowling,” said Metzker, of Des Moines, and a member of one of the three participating Kent teams. “If you move your hand, the ball will react the same way. You need loft for a straight ball. They designed it well.”

Cindy VandenBerg, a program coordinator at the Kent Senior Center who helped start the Wii bowling league in 2008, never expected the game to be so popular.

“We just hoped to have a few come,” VandenBerg said of the first weekly session 18 months ago.

Now there’s even a traveling league. Kent won the South Division in home and away showdowns once a week against senior centers in Bonney Lake, Auburn and Enumclaw.

Teams from throughout South King County showed up for Wednesday’s tourney. Six television screens were set up to handle the large turnout.

“It’s just great for seniors,” said Margaret Gray, 80, a member of the SeaTac team, after she knocked down two pins to pick up a spare. “And it’s good exercise. You don’t sit long. You’re always up and down.”

Gray then got up from her chair to bowl again. She eyed the screen, held the remote high, took a couple of steps and swung the device, similar to actually rolling a bowling ball.

“It’s good, friendly fun,” Gray said. “It’s a good thing to do in your spare time.”

Wii uses a sensor placed above or below the television screen to detect motion and transfer a player’s movements to an on-screen character. Bowlers can then watch the screen as the ball rolls toward the pins.

“Bowling is bowling,” VandenBerg said of the popularity of the game. “Wii is set up to use the same motion. It brings back memories for a lot of people.”

The weekly sessions from 1-3 p.m. on Monday and Friday at the Kent Senior Center can get pretty boisterous.

“It gets so loud in here that sometimes our receptionist can’t hear on the phone,” VandenBerg said.

The bowling league turned into a great escape for Metzker, who joined the league last December. He has been in town for about seven months for treatment of bladder cancer that struck him 10 years ago. He has a daughter in Des Moines, but his home is on the Cook Islands.

“I enjoy coming to Kent for the positive atmosphere,” Metzker said. “It helps a lot.”

The Kent Senior Center purchased a second Wii program because the bowling became so popular. People were waiting too long to bowl with only one system. As many as 10 to 20 people show up for the weekly sessions.

“It’s supposed to end at 3 (p.m.), but sometimes they’re not out of here until 4 or 4:15,” VandenBerg said.

Real bowling pins, painted in gold, silver and bronze were given Wednesday as awards to the top three teams in the regular season and the top three teams at the tournament.

Seniors on Strike Again of Auburn won the gold at the tournament followed by Wiisels Too of SeaTac and Wii Are Rolling of Kent.

Earlier this year, Kent and the other senior centers in the league even received an award from the Washington Recreation and Park Association for the best new program.

For more information on Wii bowling at the Kent Senior Center, go to www.ci.kent.wa.us/senioractivitycenter or call 253-856-5150.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
One of two victims identified in fiery Kent crash

Kristen Anne Meyers, 53, died in May 11 crash on West Hill, according to medical examiner

t
City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

t
Kent firefighters extinguish two fires on the same morning | Photos

Friday, May 17 at apartment leasing office in the Valley and at a vacant East Hill house

Courtesy Photo, City of Kent
City of Kent population drops by 1,051 in 2023 compared to 2022

Decline similar to many cities of 50,000 or more across the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau

t
Kent Police Blotter: April 25 to May 8

Incidents include burglaries, robberies, shootings

t
Rape charges dismissed against former Kent school bus driver

Prosecutors decide they could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt due to medical tests

t
Feds indict 9 South King County residents on drug trafficking charges

Those accused from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw

A screenshot of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn speaking about a proposed amendment for the proposed $20 minimum wage ordinance. (Screenshot)
King County approves $20.29 minimum wage for unincorporated areas

Councilmember Reagan Dunn and more than a dozen business owners argued tips and health care expenses should be a part of the new wage. The council passed the ordinance without the amendment.

Dave Upthegrove. COURTESY PHOTO
Upthegrove one of seven candidates for state lands commissioner

His King County Council member’s district includes part of Kent

COURTESY PHOTO, King County Elections
Candidates file for Kent-area races for Congress, Legislature

Incumbents face challengers in two Congressional contests and four state House races

t
Two die in single-car crash in Kent on West Hill

Sedan crashed Saturday evening, May 11 into tree and caught fire in 2400 block of South 272nd Street

t
Spanaway man, 25, faces murder charge in Kent bar shooting

Reportedly shot Federal Way man, 30, eight times inside Meeker Street Bar & Grill