A Day in the Life: Still helping them find the mark

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Tom Gray
Tom Gray
A retired air traffic controller for the Air Force, Tom Gray, 60, currently has a role that is certainly less stressful, and even more gratifying: activities director for a California assisted living facility. In October, he was named the National Senior League's Wii Bowling Coach of the Year.

Gray, who has been coaching teams at Vintage Senior Living at Sierra Point, in Roseville, CA, for three years, urges more nursing homes to get involved in Wii bowling.

“Residents can participate from the comfort of their wheelchair or any other kind of chair,” Gray says. “All they need is a little bit of vision and an arm to swing with. I think it's helpful for residents who are at risk for isolation. It's also great for those who would rather watch than participate. There's nothing wrong with being a fan.”

Gray approaches his role as bowling coach much like he approaches life in general. “I tell them, if they have a bad frame, not to give up. You can be better at it tomorrow. Live one day at a time,” he says.

If he misses a scheduled day of practice, his team usually gets together anyway.

“Any time they can organize themselves is great,” he says. “You look out and laugh and smile and think, ‘How about that.'”

As a coach, Gray realizes, “I actually really, really benefit by seeing how well they feel.”