by Mallory Pickett
When Dennis Berkholtz’s parents moved to a retirement home in 2004, he worried they’d get bored. “People were just playing bingo,” he recalls. But a couple of years later, Nintendo released the Wii, and Berkholtz—a former Olympic handball player and coach—saw an opportunity. With $120,000 from investors, he launched the National Senior League for Wii Bowling. Today, some 1,400 players on 280 teams compete against rivals in contests nationwide. It’s become so serious that one of Berkholtz’s main challenges is policing rule-bending at the highest levels. (Occasionally, players fudge scores.) But this year’s Super Elite winners had a clean victory: The Wii Warriors from Walnut Village in Anaheim, California, dominated their division. Lori Myers and Elizabeth Fink are two of the team’s star bowlers.
Elizabeth Fink, 90
“I used to be in a regular league with other housewives, but the balls got heavier and the bowling alleys disappeared. I hardly expected to ever play videogames. But Wii bowling is easy. It gets me up on my feet. As time goes on, you lose a lot of things, and when you get to be my age you’re about ready to quit. But I don’t like to quit.”
Lori Myers, 86
“My husband is handicapped, and I bowl when he’s having a nap. It took me a couple years before I got my first 300 game. They came and took pictures, and they announced it at our happy hour at the Red Chair Lounge. My main tip is that you have to remember,first of all, to relax. Just don’t be in a hurry, and make sure you line up how you want. And have fun. It’s your time.”