CUPERTINO, Calif. (KTVU) - It’s Wednesday morning at Cupertino’s Homested Bowl and the athletes are rolling in. Their battle cry?
“Get up and get moving!” shouts out 76-year-old Julie Newell.
On this day, the millennials need not apply because the seniors rule. The youngest player is 58 and the oldest is 96. There are 22 women and two men on the "Swinging Seniors," and they're all young at heart.
These super seniors have 51 kids, 69 grandkinds and nine great grandchildren. And they have a zest for life that is contagious including 96-year-old Opal Hern who never misses a day.
“I spend a lot of time in my apartment alone, and I like to talk to people and enjoy myself," she said. "I love bowling! And that’s what life is all about!”
Marie Doty, 84, echoed the sentiment. “It’s just fun fun, fun! If you have anything that’s bothering you, you come here and forget about it. It’s kind of your therapy."
It’s a two-hour, three-game workout with lots of hugs and a few high-5’s. Smiling, by the way, is a requirement.
But bowling aside, it’s just fun with a ton of good hearted conversation.
“You notice I don’t have a double chin?" asked 73-year-old Barbara Gannon. "It's a vocal workout! Because we do a lot of talking here.:
Helen Pellicer, 86, said bowling is a great way to meet people -- even though she hasn't met any particular gentlemen.
And don't think the athletes aren't competitive.
Bill Newell, 78, rolled a few 200-plus games in his day. He and 86-year-old Jim Maloney are the lone men on the swingers, and they’re OK with that. " Oh, that works out very well," he said with a laugh. "Very well."
By the way, Maloney's wife, Rita, is on the team, too.
It’s a win-win: Good exercise and good company right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. And the seniors point out they don’t need high tech to stay healthy.
Rita Maloney, 80, said it's all about “being happy, being active, having good friends and eating well!”
The only sad part of this story, the seniors say, is the lack of bowling alleys. In the heyday there were more than 15,000 alleys in the US and now, just a little over 3,000.
The South Bay was hit particularly hard. There were 17 bowling alleys in the 60s & 70s and now just three, which are flourishing, thanks in part, to the senior leagues.