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Peabody seniors enjoy weekly sport, albeit on a Nintendo Wii

PEABODY-Peabody resident Norris Gove spent his Friday morning duckpin bowling with some friends. By the end of his first game, he had rolled a record setting nine strikes in a row with a total score of 243 – not so bad for a 91-year-old.Gove is just one of 11 residents at Brooksby Village who play the sport every Friday morning from 10 a.m. to noon. Only these beloved bowlers don?t have to bother with smelly, slippery shoes or heavy 15-pound bowling balls. A television, an arms-length of space, and one of Nintendo?s Wii systems are all they need. But, don?t let that lessen Gove?s accomplishment. Gamers say it?s just as hard to get a strike using Wii as it is in a real bowling alley.?I play this just like I would candlepin,” said Gove as he sat patiently for his next turn.Fellow Brooksby resident William “Bill” Emberley, who organizes the game day each week, said that it takes skill and some practice to play. Just like a curve in your wrist could result in a gutter ball, moving your arm a little too far to the left or right could throw the ball way off.Emberley also said that in this game, “Age don?t mean nothing.”?You can play it from a wheel chair, sitting down,” said the 79-year-old as more players showed up to play.Brooksby?s Public Relations Manager Dani Baldassare said Nintendo gave each of the Erickson Communities at least one Wii to encourage its use among seniors.?They love playing it,” Baldassare said. “It?s good for recreation, exercise, fun. And it gets them out of their rooms.”The residents enjoy playing the game so much so that there have been talks of starting an actual bowling league.The Wii game uses two handheld wireless controllers that work as pointers and motion/acceleration detectors. In the case of bowling, for instance, it serves as your arm. In a game of tennis, it simulates a tennis racket, moving in any direction you take it.The system also offers baseball, golf, and boxing, but bowling is the Brooksby favorite.?I don?t like boxing,” quipped Emberley, who only plays when his wife asks him to. “My wife has the best right hook in the place.”

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