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October 28, 2009

Adventures in Elder Wii— Playing Nintendo with the Aged

Bobwii As I become increasingly aged and decrepit, I need to look beyond contact sports like walking and checkers for my exercise. Recently, I happened upon a fitness system I could get my old bones behind — Elder Wii. For the uninitiated, Elder Wii is the sport of crushing seniors  at Nintendo's Wii Sports. They're old, plus they don't know how to operate technology, so, how hard would it be to destroy them?

Photo at right is of me annihilating an older person. Well, trying to annihilate him.

Well, it's proved harder than I anticipated. Those oldsters are feisty. Plus, they have zero compunction when it comes to smugly telling you exactly what it is you're doing wrong. And by you I mean me.

I found Elder Wii at the Champlain Senior Center on N. Winooski St. in Burlington. Of course it's not called Elder Wii. That's my name for it. The center got a Wii machine about a year ago, and since then they've been using it for their group fitness programs, as well as for general entertainment. It's more active than jigsaw puzzles and requires fewer fine motor skills than crocheting, so it's perfect for the senior set.

I thought it might be fun to write a story about learning how to play Wii from some old feller. The editors bought my thinly veiled excuse to play video games all day long and so off I went to learn the sport of Wii. You can read the complete account of my experience at the Champlain Senior Center in the Nov. 4 issue of 7D.

I don't want to ruin the surprise of my Pulitzer-worthy account of Elder Wii, but I'll give you a little preview here. I just got back from learning Wii Tennis and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to sit in an ice bath for the rest of the day. It crushed me. I'm spent.

My Wii tutor has been a 71 y.o. former long-haul trucker named Bob Fountain who in addition to being a Wii shark, is also quite a proficient jigsaw puzzle putter-togetherer and he kills it in the Sit and Be Fit videos. I first met Bob last week when he taught me how to play Wii golf and Wii bowling. We were getting to Wii tennis, but the Sit and Be Fit overlords kicked us off the TV. Everyday at 11:30 a.m., they do an exercise video, regardless of whether a stupid reporter has come to do some stupid story.


The leotards in this Sit and Be Fit video were amazing. UH-MEY-ZINGGGG.

Here is an important disclaimer — I generally hate video games. I have never had an interest in staring at a television for hours with my tongue sagging out of my mouth, fostering repetitive stress injuries on both my thumbs. I'd much rather do something useful with my free time like gravestone rubbing or metal detecting at North Beach. It stands to reason then that I would feel similarly lackluster towards Wii sports. Oh, how wrong I was.

I gee-dee love it! It's all I could think about since I first learned how to play and summarily got chewed up and spit out by my septuagenarian rival. Of all the many games we've played, I only won once. I'm pretty sure that's because Bob got distracted during that game by some hot senior lass who strutted in to work on the Thomas Kinkade jigsaw puzzle.

To learn more about how our games progressed, why Wii is kick-assy for the advanced in years and how I became a video game convert, you'll have to check out the Nov. 4 issue. Until then, just sit and, uh, be fit.          

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