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Senior Center Wii bowls em over
Byrl Knutson makes sure that the 20-foot tall display is operational before the start of the Manteca Senior Center’s weekly Wii bowling event. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Byrl Knutson knows that when the morning hours start to tick away and the warm sun is just around the corner, he’s the man craving for the lanes.

Every Thursday when the clock rolls around noon, Knutson makes sure that the scores of the previous week’s Wii bowling league are posted for all of the teams involved at the Manteca Senior Center to be able to scan and brag about.

Even though this senior-only league that integrates one of the most cutting edge video game systems on the market today with a pastime that many of the participants still recall required those funky shoes, the competition among those involved remains as fierce as it is friendly.

“We’re all out here to have a good time,” Knutson said. “But that doesn’t mean that things don’t get competitive among some of these teams as the weeks go on.”

In the true spirit of the activities offered at the Manteca Senior Center, anybody aged 50 or over is eligible to be a participant. Some of those who make their way towards the imaginary lanes do so in walkers – taking extra care with the Wii controller to ensure that they’ve got the right form to send the imaginary ball down the lanes and hopefully toward the animated strike cutaway that often draws a round of applause from those in the room.

Other times, the pins break in the same frustrating fashion that you’d find at your local bowling alley – leaving a split that seems uncatchable and leaving a chunk of pins that the roller was sure would have fallen when they had a perfect strike right at the heart of the triangular front that normally spells strike.

“One of the things that’s really amazing about this system is how accurate it can be,” said Senior Center Executive Director John Boore. “It’s a great way for those who come down here to have another activity that keeps them active and keeps them entertained – and in the end it doesn’t reach a whole lot differently than a real bowling alley does.”

Despite the frustrations that might come with a lingering pin for the dreaded 7-10 split, participants like Gene Thompsen enjoy the camaraderie among those who play and the competitive nature between the teams who try their best to end up atop the leader board by the time the day is all said and done.

“It’s fun to come down and enjoy a game with your friend and the other people who enjoy playing,” Thompsen said. “But this is definitely something that’s competitive among those who are active in the league.”

For more information about the Wii bowling league or any of the other programs offered at the Manteca Senior Center, call 825-2301.