Local senior citizens bowl their way through Irene clean-up

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Tue., Sep. 6, 2011
(L-r) John Carter, Joyce Bigelow, Sally Johnson and Glenna Bruno played Wii bowling at the Pomfret Senior Center. Photos by D. Coffey
(L-r) John Carter, Joyce Bigelow, Sally Johnson and Glenna Bruno played Wii bowling at the Pomfret Senior Center. Photos by D. Coffey

John Carter, Joyce Bigelow, Sally Johnson and Glenna Bruno were oblivious to the power outages that continued to plague northeastern Connecticut on Sept. 1. They were too engrossed in a Nintendo Wii 10-pin bowling competition to care about the lingering effects of the storm.

The four had gathered Saturday at the Pomfret Senior Center for their weekly Wii bowling match. They remained focused on their game, even with Pomfret town employees busy in the kitchen. The center may have turned into the town’s temporary emergency shelter, but it didn’t stop the foursome from playing their game.

When it was Carter's turn, he didn’t even leave his seat - but he had a wicked aim. The man could set the track of the ball right on the side of the gutter with his remote and still be able to hit the lone pin standing. “I can bowl from outside in the parking,” he boasted. And he did, just to prove his point. He even took the remote into the men’s room and sent eight pins crashing to the floor.

“I don’t know how he does it,” Bruno said.

The senior foursome regularly plays a team from Thompson. When they do, they set up two Wii stations, so that eight players can play at a time. Each bowler gets a hand-held remote with which to aim their ball and send it down the alley. Johnson demonstrated her technique, which was garnering her top scores.

“She does the Statue of Liberty pose,” Carter said.

“I certainly couldn’t do it with a real bowling ball,” Johnson said. She stood and raised her right arm high in the air. She held the pose, the remote waiting for the command. Then she brought it back down and then forward, and sent her virtual bowling ball sailing. More than a few times, the ball “bounced” onto the alley rather than rolling the entire distance, but her scores were sterling.

Weeks earlier, Johnson had lost her touch with the game. “My game fell apart completely,” she admitted. She took some advice from the Thompson players and Carter as well. “John helped me so much,” she said. In the first match, she came in well ahead of the others, with a score of 277 out of a possible 300.

The game allowed each player to aim the ball using a dotted line. It allowed for straight throws, which were Carter’s specialties, and curves, which Bigelow preferred. But only Carter had perfected the throw where his ball would ride the ridge of the gutter and not fall in.

“He’s a show-off,” Bruno said.

“He’s a very generous teacher,” Johnson added. “He’s helped a lot of us.”

Bigelow finished with a strike. Johnson finished with a turkey, three strikes in a row. As good as Carter was from his chair, he finished second to Johnson. Bruno came in last in a tough field.

“The good thing about Wii is that handicapped people can use it,” Carter said. “You don’t have to stand to use it.” All you need is electricity.

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