Ruby Peeters lines up the perfect shot, focuses, winds back her arm and rolls the ball down the alley.
As all the pins on the video screen fall, cheers and applause fill the small room at the Bella Vida senior center.
Peeters is the coach of the senior center’s Alley Oops bowling team, which, instead of playing in a traditional bowling alley, plays the “Wii Sports” version of the game every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
Marie Notti has been a part of the team for about 14 years, since the team was formed in the old senior center, and said she enjoys being part of the team as a way to enjoy the company of other seniors.
“It’s not the best form of exercise, but I do love the people on this team,” Notti said. “Also, you do have to use your brain trying to figure out how to line up your shots and how hard to swing.”
Though the roughly 20 members of the team, complete with purple custom jerseys, love the sense of camaraderie that comes with being on the team, the Alley Oops are also a competitive team and fight for supremacy over other senior centers in a national league headquartered in Atlanta.
“We go to about three competitions per year and, last year, our team was in first place for about 10 weeks,” Peeters said. “We’re still a bit rusty now after the holiday season, so our scores aren’t where we would like them to be, but the next competition we’re planning for is happening in August. I think overall my favorite part is when I bowl a perfect 300 game.”
Beverly Fine joined the team three months ago when she saw the Alley Oops practicing while she was walking around the senior center. As a former bowler, Fine was hooked.
“I’m not a gamer and I’ve never played video games, so this is a unique experience for me and I’m scared to get one of these in my house because I can see how addictive it can be. I can see myself playing a couple of games at night if I can’t sleep,” Fine said. “It’s great to have a team like this here because the fact that you don’t have to lift the heavy ball makes the game accessible to those, especially seniors, who would otherwise not be able to go bowling.”