Tag Archives: bowling

At Whitestone bowling alley, senior league flourishes

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

These seniors defy the bingo-playing stereotype of old age.

Every week a group of spunky seniors gets together to gripe about what’s ailing them, talk trash among friends and hurl bowling balls down the lanes.

“It used to be about girls but now it’s about medicine,”  John Murphy, 76, said about the banter among bowlers. He’s been part of what’s become a senior bowling league in Whitestone for a period of time that he doesn’t care to remember. “This is a great thing we have going here. It gives us something to do.”

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, around 40 to 60  men and women haul their bowling balls to Whitestone Lanes, where they put their money where their mouths are and compete against each other in pairs.

“It can get pretty crazy in here,” Murphy said before being yelled at by his partner for not plugging his score into the booth. “I’m being interviewed here. Can’t you see that? I don’t have time for you.”

The league has no official name but wagers are taken seriously and there’s a minimum of $2 to enter any game. Depending on how many people join that day, winners can gain as much as $400. And despite their age, many of the players come close to rolling a perfect 300.

The bowlers are all from around the area, and the only requirement to join the league is being in one’s golden years. The league has been around for almost two decades and with the neighborhood’s high population of senior citizens — 25 percent of people in the area are above 60, according to census data — there are always new recruits coming in.

“We do this 365 [days] a year,” Murphy said. “We’re here three times a week. Summer. Winter. It doesn’t matter.”


Queens seniors battle Manhattan rivals in Xbox bowling tournament

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Some Queens seniors showed that they’ve still got game.

The members of the Selfhelp Senior Center in Flushing battled rival SAGE Center of Manhattan on virtual bowling lanes Thursday, in the city’s first official crosstown online Xbox seniors bowling tournament.

And although they weren’t playing for a world championship, they’ve had lots of competitive spirit to spare. With city bragging rights on the line, Queens left Manhattan in the gutter, winning the best of three set competition to win the city crown.

The match, which was made possible through a partnership between Microsoft and the Department for the Aging (DFTA), and the Department of Technology and Telecommunications, showed that through virtual games old folks can continue to playing just like they used to.

“When I do Xbox it feels like I’m doing the real bowling without the weight of the ball , so it’s good for me because I’m older now and it’s difficult for me to bowl a 10-pound ball,” said Elena Wolfe, a member of Selfhelp.

Selfhelp was the city’s first senior center to get virtual technology. It had Nintendo Wii video game systems installed a few years ago so the seniors could play Wii Sports, which includes mix virtual games, such as baseball, tennis, bowling, golf and boxing.

The center recently switched to Xbox after the city partnered with Microsoft, and seniors have since fell in love with the system. The play many times per week and have formed a virtual bowling team.

In addition to the health benefits of exercise that the game provides, the technology also helps members by teaching them modern technology and making them feel connected with the current generation.

“There is a common misconception that seniors are afraid of technology that they don’t understand it and what we are aiming to prove is that’s wrong, that’s not true at all,” Jon Minners, Department of Aging spokesperson, said.

“You just have to push them along a little bit, but once they understand technology they really enjoy it.”