Rancho Cucamonga seniors compete in Wii bowling championship

Nintendo WII For Seniors Championship

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Lotte Eberle (C), standing next to student Josef Kiener plays Nintendo Wii bowling at the Malhaelden seniors home on August 4, 2008 in Pforzheim, Germany.

Jeanne Gildea (R), 81, reacts to a shot

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Jeanne Gildea (R), 81, reacts to a shot as she plays in a bowling tournament against fellow community members, including Elaine Fowler (L), 82, on the Nintendo Wii game system at the Riderwood Retirement Community in Silver Spring, Maryland, Jan. 16, 2008.

Some local seniors are competing in a national bowling championship Friday morning, but they won’t have to go to a bowling alley or use real bowling balls. They’ll play virtually on a Nintendo Wii game system.

The four seniors from Rancho Cucamonga are competing against teams in Ohio, Connecticut and Florida in the Wii Senior Bowling Championship.

Geoff Wolfsont, 67, is on the Rancho Cucamonga team, dubbed "The A Team." He says he used to bowl with a real ball several decades back but he stopped after he suffered some injuries to his back. Now, the virtual bowling may actually be improving Wolfsont's health.

"One of the reasons why I keep doing it is because I have Parkinson's [disease] and I want to improve or just maintain the hand-eye coordination that I still have, which varies from day to day," said Wolfsont.

Although the virtual action keeps them from having to worry about errant shots from other players, they do have to watch out for flying Wii remotes. Part of the fun of playing bowling on the Wii is that you can simulate the throw of a bowling ball by flinging your arm forward, which has led to stories (and YouTube videos) of people throwing their remotes into their TV. One of the rules of the tournament is that the players have to have the remote's wrist strap on at all times or they will be penalized five points.

The action will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday morning at the James Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga. Veteran TV game show host Bob Eubanks will provide live play-by-play of the championship at the AARP Life@50+ event at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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