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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.”