Nothing but strikes for these seniors

Joe Gotto swings a Nintendo Wii controller during a game of bowling Tuesday at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. The center’s Wii bowling team, The Alley Oops, is competing in a statewide tournament and has won two weeks straight. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center’s Wii bowling team is on a winning streak. That’s right, Wii bowling. The Alley Oops, as they call themselves, are competing in the senior Wii bowling tournament that spans all of California.

They have won two weeks straight and are looking to keep the ball rolling.

“We have a lot of fun when we play,” said Rita Hendrixson, 93. “I like seeing everyone try their best, and when someone can get a strike, it feels so good. It’s so nice to see them successful.”

Neither age nor health matter when it comes to playing. The easy-to-use hand controller makes it so that anyone can join, even those who are disabled.

Seniors at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center participate in a Wii bowling tournament. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

“It’s probably one of the healthiest things you can do as an older person,” league member Steve Baldwin said. “Interacting with people and being active instead of sitting on your couch is important.”

The seniors on the team definitely take it seriously and most are tough competitors. Players were getting “turkeys” — three strikes in a row — left and right, and some even got up to eight strikes in a row.

Between strikes, Joe Gotto, long-time leaguer, was explaining to a new member how to release the ball at just the right time.

“I love to help coach the new players,” Gotto said. “They’re getting a lot better and it’s fun to see their progress.”

Gotto said he loves to watch each player develop their own technique. And just like in real bowling, each senior has a pre-shot routine. Whether it’s a little wiggle, a huge swing or an extra long aim, they swear it makes all the difference.

“Joe’s a character,” Baldwin said. “He goes through this routine that you cannot believe, but it works!”

Wii bowling takes place every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the SCV Senior Center located at 22900 Market St. in Newhall. For more information call 661-259-9444.

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