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A Wii bit of fun

Dorothy Wilson of Grand Forks said she used to like to go bowling and play baseball, but in the past few years, both activities have been a little beyond her physical capability.

Until now.

Wilson, who is a volunteer driver for the Meals on Wheels program at the Grand Forks Senior Center, was one of seven women at the center's first Wii class Monday afternoon.

Betty Lou Vorland, activities director, said she'd read about how the Wii -- a game system where a person has to physically move around to get the characters on the game to move on the screen -- can help seniors develop hand-eye coordination and keep their minds engaged while doing something fun and physical.

"I went to my boss, and she said if I could raise the money, we could get it," Vorland said. A Wii system was donated, and Vorland raised almost $1,000 for a flat-screen television.

Then, she had to learn about the game so that she could teach others.

Monday, she led a Wii lesson, giving pointers on how to hold the game's controls and telling participants which buttons to use.

Most everyone gave the game a try, with laughter and cheers erupting as they played.

Right up their alley

Now, the center has the standard Wii sports games -- bowling, boxing, baseball, golf, tennis and bowling -- but Vorland said she hopes to get more, if interest grows. "I would like to expand it, but right now, I just want everyone to get the basics," she said.

The center's former computer room now is the Wii room, Vorland said.

"I expect this room to get used an awful lot," she said.

Wilson was so impressed with the game she asked just how much a Wii costs.

"I'd love to have one at home," she said. She didn't know what the Wii was when the class was announced a couple of weeks ago.

"We were just laughing about it because of the silly name," she said.

But now she's sold. Wilson said she's definitely going to practice playing, but added with a chuckle that she'd like to have less of an audience.

The laughter brought about by gaming gaffes or triumphs is another perk to the game, Vorland said.

"Laughter is so good," she said. "And you know, you are not going to be straight-faced for too long once you get in here."