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Local seniors looking to start Wii revolution (with video)

The sign in the Windmill Manor clubhouse read: “Laughter is the music of the soul.”

If true, Bev Skelton, Grace Eley, Betty DeTolve and Steve Sargent were having a concert.

“Look at that! Look at that!”

“Another strike!”

“You did it again!”

Kids with a new toy?

Try septuagenarians bowling on Wii, Nintendo’s popular big screen video game that also will drive some folks to distraction.

Not at Windmill Manor, a mobile home park off State Road 70.

“You get mad, go home,” said Skelton, 71. “This is strictly for fun.”

They want to spread it around, too.

Skelton would like to start a Wii league with other mobile home parks in the vicinity.

They already do so in bingo, cards and shuffleboard, she said.

“I think it would be an excellent tool for the elderly to get motivated,” said the school crossing guard. “All we’ve got left is fun, eat and watch TV — and TV can really get hold of you and make you fat. I don’t like that.”

Nor does Eley, who shares Skelton’s enthusiasm for a local Wii sports league.

“It gets you up off your buns,” the 73-year-old said. “When you reach these later years, you find yourself sitting around. So anything that opens the door for you is welcome.”

DeTolve agreed.

“It’s more the exercise,” the 77-year-old said. “As we get older we lack coordination. It’s mind, eye and body coordination all at once. I don’t know if it holds off Alzheimer’s, but it keeps your mind occupied and that’s good.”

Skelton’s inspiration for Wii and its myriad possibilities came from an infomercial she saw last Christmas.

“Two little old ladies were sitting in a chair and they were bowling,” she said. “I felt I could do that and I’m not that bad off yet. So I bought one.”

It’s been the source of much mirth at Windmill Manor, too.

Even if they’re still getting the hang of the Wii’s remotes.

“I’m having trouble with it curving and figuring out how to stop it,” Eley said. “Bowling is still a neat game and I like it best. I tried golf, but don’t like boxing at all. That’s work.”

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com.

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