Cultures and generations meet over a round of Wii Bowling | Community Spirit
It was a meeting of generations and cultures at Spokane Valley Nazarene Church on Friday morning. The Wii Rock & Roll Bowlers, made up of local retirement communities, took on Japanese exchange students in a Wii Bowling tournament that was as much about learning from each other as it was about knocking down the virtual pins.
“It's a cool experience for everybody,” says Liza Wilson, a group coordinator with Compass USA Japanese Exchange. The 22 Japanese students in her Pink Group are from the town of Chiba, just outside of Tokyo. Home stays look really good on college applications for the students, and for the last two weeks they have been in Spokane learning conversational English, going on field trips and doing community service.
“They've loved interacting with the seniors,” says Wilson. On Thursday, the students served lunch to the senior members of the Spokane Valley Nazarene Church and taught them origami. Today, they took on the Wii Rock & Roll Bowlers on eight lanes in the church gymnasium.
“Yesterday was more about showing Japanese culture,” explains Wilson. “Today is about learning our senior culture.”
The Wii Rock & Roll Bowlers was started three years ago by Kris Martin, who works with the Lilac Plaza-Terrace Retirement Communities. Now, 17 retirement communities come together at the church about every six weeks for fellowship and Wii bowling.
“It took a while to get them to try it,” Martin says about teaching the seniors how to play the game. “Once they tried it they were just hooked.”
While Wii bowling is a fun way to get together, it's serious business. Each retirement community has their own team name and special tournament shirts. Today, the Wii Lilacs, Joyful Rollers and HC Golden Ones took on the exchange students.
“I expected some real sharp players today,” says George Gabriel, or Wow Wii, of the Wii Lilacs. He came in third place during his game on lane one. Two seniors and two students played a round on each of the eight lanes.
“The whole goal is not just to play with each other, but to get to know each other,” explains Wilson.
To practice their conversational English, the students came prepared with a list of questions to ask the seniors on the lanes. Questions about their grandchildren, their own childhood and family traditions were among more basic question such as their favorite foods and activities. The final question asks what the senior bowlers would want younger people to learn from them.
“They're eager to learn,” Francis Daigoe, or Lucky Lefty, says of the exchange students. Daigoe describes the morning spent with the Japanese students with a big smile and one word. Joy.
“I really enjoyed it,” says Daigoe. “Joy makes the languages up.”