Doug Kent is a local sports legend and one of the most accomplished bowlers of all time. But he met his match in a game of Wii bowling with a resident of Newark Manor
Doug Kent is a local sports legend and one of the most accomplished bowlers of all time.
A member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) since 1988, Kent has captured 10 PBA tournament titles, rolled 31 perfect 300-score games in PBA competition, and was named the 43rd greatest bowler ever according to PBA.com.
He even has a village street named after him.
Beverly Countryman is a resident of Newark Manor, a Hurlbut Care
Community. Although she is wheelchair-bound and in her 80s, Countryman loves to bowl. Because she can’t physically bowl anymore, Countryman uses the Nintendo Wii videogame console to continue to play the game she loves. She bowls at least three games per day on the Wii, usually before 6 a.m. with Theresa Wood, a nurse at Newark Manor.
Wood, an avid bowler herself, had the idea to set up a match between
Kent and Beverly at Newark Manor. She presented the idea to Newark
Manor’s Recreation Supervisor Melissa Harris.
“Bev is so good, and we were always wondering what we could do with that,” said Harris.
So when Wood suggested bringing in Kent for a match, Harris jumped at the opportunity and called the Palmyra-Macedon High School graduate to set it up.
He was in.
The showdown occurred in early December in front of a cheering section that included Countryman’s children, Darlene Stell and Gary Countryman, as well as nursing home staff and residents and other friends and relatives of both competitors.
Though Kent, who owns Doug Kent’s Rose Bowl Lanes in Newark and Doug Kent’s Lakeside Lanes in Penn Yan, came into the match as the heavy favorite, Beverly was not intimidated. In fact, she had a strategy going into the game.
“We played a practice game before the match that I won,” said Kent. “She had several opens (frames) and wasn’t getting any strikes or spares. So, I figured I would win once we began the actual game.”
The Newark Manor staff was nervous during the practice match as well.
“The match took place in a common area that Bev wasn’t used to playing in,” Harris said. “We thought that was throwing her off her game.”
But like Cool Hand Luke, Beverly was bluffing. Once the real match started, she came out firing four straight strikes and cruised to a 191-173 victory over Kent.
For Beverly and the other residents of Newark Manor, the Nintendo Wii is a way to continue their hobbies even when they can’t physically enjoy them anymore.
“There are so many benefits to having the Wii,” Harris says. “It really helps us be person-centered. If a person used to fish, but can’t get out on the water, we can bring them on a virtual fishing tour. Same thing with bow hunting. Or tennis. It has something for everybody, no matter what their hobbies are. It’s also great exercise, along with the fun.”
Page 2 of 2 - While it was a fun match for all involved, it was also a sweet victory for Beverly. After the match, Kent presented her with a signed bowling pin to keep in her room. She was also given a monetary prize from the nursing home.
“She played me,” Kent said. “She beat me fair and square. I have to say that I don’t like losing. I did my best. She just did better. It was a great time, though, and I’m really looking forward to a rematch.”
Harris is working on a rematch for later this year and Beverly predicts more of the same.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment to beat a PBA championship bowler,” she said.
“And if we have a rematch, I predict it will be a twice-in-a-lifetime moment!”