By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Last week, I had the opportunity to do something I thoroughly enjoy. I was one of nearly a dozen Gardant staff members who served as volunteers for the finals of Affordable Assisted Living Coalition’s 2016 statewide Wii Bowling and Spelling Bee tournament.
Teams of residents from 16 affordable assisted living communities that operate through the Illinois Supportive Living communities gathered together at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield for the two-day event.
This is the seventh year for Wii Bowling, says Wayne Smallwood, Executive Director of AALC. The tournament continues to grow in popularity.
Eighty-five teams entered the event this year. After weeks of competition, the top 32 teams qualified for the playoffs to determine which teams would meet in the Final Four. Three of the Final Four teams were from communities managed by Gardant.
The Spelling Bee attracted 69 teams statewide. The 12 best teams qualified for the trip to Springfield, with six of the 12 coming from communities managed by Gardant.
Our focus with the Wii Bowling and Spelling Bee is to promote social engagement and physical and intellectual activity, says Smallwood. All three are so important to successful aging.
Teams of residents from Gardant communities took home the Second and Third Place trophies, and residents from Gardant communities won the Most Valuable Player and High Game awards.
The Heritage Woodsmen from Heritage Woods of Charleston finished in Second Place after getting edged out by just seven pins during a battle with the First Place team – the Eden Strikers from Eden Supportive Living in North Aurora. The battle for First Place was the closest in the history of the tournament. The average score for the bowlers in the championship match was 223.
The Woodsmen finished in Third Place in 2014 and 2015. They won the event in 2013.
Heritage Woods of Charleston residents Burleigh Hocking, Bill Pankey and John Honn represented the team in the Final Four this year. John won the High Game Award, bowling a 288.
The Bowling Brooks from Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook won the Third Place Trophy. Team members were residents Vonnie Heagy, Janet Kordosky, Jeanne Pridmore, Michael Malina, Joan Schmidt and Pat Sharpe. Vonnie was awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy for having the highest average score. Her average score in the two days of competition was 259.
Bolingbrook won the title last year. Their team has made a Final Four appearance every year since 2012.
The Fab 5 from Heritage Woods of Batavia advanced to the second day of the finals and finished fourth overall in the competition. Team members included Mary Jane Berry, Jim Gent, Shirley Herman, Jerry Wall and Bonnie Western.
The Wood Spellers from Heritage Woods of Charleston took home the First Place Spelling Bee trophy.
They outlasted the competition in the tie-breaker rounds to become the champions, spelling the final word – hippopotamus – correctly. Team members were Rosalie Burris and Margaret Phillips.
The Deer Path Stingers from Deer Path of Huntley took Third Place honors, bringing home their first tournament trophy since the community opened in 2013. Team members were Robin Lapins and Mike Wells.