By Charlene Bielema
With a steady gaze, each took a turn on the approach.
With the swing of an arm and flick of the wrist at the precise moment, all of them had the goal of gently, but firmly, landing a bowling ball in just the right spot on the lane, hoping to nail it with perfect aim and a speed that would knock all the pins down.
No, they weren’t in a bowling alley, squaring off for a jackpot.
Instead, the nursing home residents — and a few from Immanuel Lutheran Church’s XYZ program — were vying to win trophies and flowers by competing Thursday in a couple games of bowling at Eagle Point Nursing and Rehab Center’s fourth annual Wii bowling tournament.
Four TVs were set up in the large dining room at Eagle Point, each one used by teams that traveled in from Prairie Hills, Harbor Crest in Fulton, Ill., The Regency and Lyons Manor, as well as Eagle Point and the XYZ program.
Sally Houzenga of Harbor Crest was among the first to get a chance to practice a few throws. She was competing in a wheelchair that had been decked out with a sign on the back wishing her well. A wooden stick with balloons — including one that had a bowling pin painted on it — was attached to the chair just behind her left shoulder.
Joining her was Cary Higgins, who, although he needed a little tutoring to learn how to work the game, threw a strike right from the get-go.
About a dozen residents spent the afternoon bowling, enjoying iced drinks and listening to music from the likes of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.
And it was all about fun. Many of the residents were brimming with smiles as they watched other bowlers take their turns.
Jerri K. Ross, Eagle Point Nursing and Rehab’s sales and marketing director, said the tournament is a great opportunity for the residents to have fun and enjoy company.
“It’s a way to bring the community into our residence,” Ross said. “ “For them to have contact with people. Some never have contact with people from the outside.”