Aiming for perfection
Wii bowling enthusiast poised to break recordBy Sara Martin
Darleen Springer isn’t one to linger over past achievements.
In 2012, the 87-year-old resident of Highland Springs bowled a year’s worth of perfect games on the Wii gaming system.
Now she’s on track to beat her own record.
“Last year, I bowled my 365th perfect game on December 21,” says Darleen. “I expect to surpass that number this year.”
A perfect game results in the highest possible score of 300. It’s achieved by bowling 12 strikes in a row during a single game.
“I took up Wii bowling five years ago,” says Darleen, who moved to Highland Springs from Baton Rouge in 2007. “It was trial and error for a while until I found what works for me.”
For the past three years, Darleen has rarely left a pin standing.
“She’s amazing,” says Highland Springs Community Resource Coordinator Barbara Blachly, who organizes the community’s Wii bowling league. “I’ve never seen anyone embrace Wii bowling the way she does.”
In the zone
Darleen’s secret for knocking down pins is one she’s glad to share.
“When I line up my ball, I move all the way over into the gutter and angle my ball slightly off-center,” says Darleen. “If I release the ball at the right time, I’m just about guaranteed a strike.”
And although she makes it look easy, Darleen’s practice regimen proves there’s no shortcut to success.
“We have a room in the clubhouse designated especially for Wii games,” says Darleen. “I bowl there five mornings a week before I teach a chair aerobics class.”
On Saturday mornings, Darleen bowls with her team, the Holey Rollers, in a friendly competition with other Wii bowling teams at the North Dallas community.
“Wii bowling is very popular at Highland Springs,” says Blachly. “Our residents have fun with it.”
To keep things interesting, Darleen isn’t afraid to challenge herself. She recently bowled a perfect game standing backwards.
“I had to ask another resident to witness it,” says Darleen. “Otherwise, I was afraid people wouldn’t believe me.”
Darleen’s also willing to take on any challengers, although by now most residents and staff know they don’t stand a chance.
“She’s unflappable,” says Blachly. “It can be intimidating to play against her.”
Sharing her secrets
Darleen’s reputation as an expert Wii bowler has made her a favorite among residents looking to improve their game.
“She’s found a niche for herself, and she’s willing to teach others,” says Blachly. “It’s wonderful.”
Norma Hill moved to Highland Springs in December 2011. She took up Wii bowling and sought Darleen’s advice for throwing strikes.
“I showed Norma how to line up the ball and release it,” says Darleen. “Now she’s not too far behind me on the bragging board.”
The bragging board
The bragging board hangs in the Wii room and allows residents to keep track of their perfect games. So far this year, Darleen’s monthly total of perfect games has consistently been above the number of days in each month.
“Hopefully, I’ll break my record this fall,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s about challenging myself and having fun.”