Wii welcome addition to Union health center

By Brittany Abeijon

The SportWell Center, located in the OASIS on the lower level of the Illini Union, promotes healthy, active lifestyles, yet one of the new activities offered at the center is a video game.

Justine Karduck, coordinator of the SportWell Center, said although it is a video game, the Nintendo Wii allows students to get their workout while having fun.

Students can play Wii for one hour per day per person with a valid i-card.

Wii uses a sensor bar and TV-remote-shaped wireless controller to mimic the player’s every movement. When the remote is sliced through the air like a racket, it mimics that movement to serve a ball in tennis. As little as one or as many as four players can play at once.

“The Wii was purchased to provide students with an opportunity to be physically active in a nontraditional way,” Karduck said.

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The SportWell Center is a collaborative effort with McKinley Health Center and the Illini Union, but Nintendo Wii and all services at the SportWell Center are only available to students at no charge if they have paid the McKinley health service fee of $207 each semester.

“Wii makes it easy for people who do not like going to the gym to work out and allows those who might not normally be active get an intense work out in a way that is comfortable and fun,” Karduck said. “Trust me, you will get your heart rate up and start sweating while playing it.”

Sharon Hyche, office manager at the SportWell Center, said the theme of OASIS promotes wellness of all dimensions: mind, body and spirit.

“Nintendo Wii stimulates both the user’s brain and body,” Hyche said.

Students can choose from tennis, baseball, golf, bowling or boxing in the current Wii Sports package at the Illini Union.

Although the SportWell Center only offers Wii Sports, the video game publisher, Midway, will be releasing “Game Party” on Nov. 5, according to CNET Network Entertainment’s Web site on GameSpot.

The game will include shuffleboard, table hockey, hoop shoot, trivia, darts, ski ball and a game called ping cup. The object of ping cup is to use the Wii remote to throw a ping-pong ball at a pyramid of cups, which may be familiar to some college students.

While Wii Sports can provide entertainment, the games can serve as a means to play sports when one cannot physically play the real sport.

Mike Powers, senior in LAS, exercises regularly and recently tore his anterior cruciate ligament, more commonly known as ACL, in his right knee while playing basketball this past summer.

He found that playing sports on Wii was a fun way to stay entertained and active without worrying about putting stress on his leg.

“I don’t really consider Nintendo Wii working out, but it does help with hand-eye coordination,” Powers said. “While I’m recovering, I can still enjoy the sports aspect of it.”

Powers said he finds time in between classes to use the Wii, and loves the convenient location since the center has moved from IMPE because of ongoing construction.

“I’ve even recommended it to some friends as a stress reliever,” he said.