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Jo-Lin residents enjoy video bowling

Mary Blankenship, a resident at Jo-Lin Health Center, is a skilled bowler who virtually bowls a 300 every time.

On Monday residents of Jo-Lin and members of Tri-State Industries got together for a Nintendo Wii virtual bowling tournament. Blankenship led the way for the Jo-Lin team by racking up six-straight strikes on her way to bowling a 289.

“I bet you couldn’t bring anyone in here and beat her when she plays like this,” Carl Palmer, another of Jo-Lin’s avid Wii bowlers, said. “She’s really good. I taught her how to play but I can’t hardly beat her anymore.”

Winning and losing isn’t really what matters to the bowlers. It’s about being able to be competitive and stay active.

“It’s a good time, we have fun playing it,” Palmer said. “I used to bowl with a 16-pound ball on a bowling team back when I was in better shape. This is pretty close to the real thing but you don’t have to be as strong to do it. It gives us something to do and keeps us busy.”

While the tournaments happen more for fun and entertainment now, there was a time when winning was the focal point of the competitions. In those times the Jo-Lin team won a lot.

“We used to bowl against all the other nursing homes and things like that in the area,” Robin Burnett said. “We did pretty good. We won a lot. Carl will say that’s why the others don’t bowl with us any more, because we beat them too much. He and Mary are much better players then I am.”

Blankenship may have surpassed her teacher in terms of skills, but it is clear that Palmer is still the team leader. He took charge of setting up the teams, and deciding the order each member would bowl. He also offers up advice to the more casual players on how they can improve their games.

“I give some tips here and there,” a smiling Palmer said. “I pretty much taught everyone in here how to bowl. I will see their swings and how they line up and I’ll fix it if they’re a little off. Except for Mary. I don’t have to give her tips anymore.”