I must admit I am not much of a video game person.
Maybe I'm just not from the right generation or am simply not cool enough, but I have just always felt it's better to be outside running, throwing or kicking while playing a game than sitting in front of a television screen where only your thumbs are getting a workout.
But I also have to admit that after spending some time with the Nintendo Wii over the holidays, I'm beginning to change my mind.
In case you are, like me until just a few days ago, unfamiliar with this interesting electronic gizmo, the Wii is a video game that bills itself as a combination of software and hardware. Playing a Wii program involves holding a remote-control-like device in your hand (strapped around your wrist so it doesn't fly off), and then participating in a variety of games or activities. You move your hands, arms, even your whole body (holding this remote control that works like a cell phone's blue tooth), and the motions work with the games' software on your TV screen.
During my first introduction to this highly-sought-after phenomenon, I bowled a complete game against three other family members, honing my technique, including speed of my pitch and twist of my wrist from the first frame to the 10th. (I finished last but still had fun; my Wii score was very similar to my actual bowling average).
Then came a game of baseball during which I both pitched (fast balls, curve balls, etc.) and stepped up to the plate to hit. I lost a heartbreaker thanks to a couple of key errors by my shortstop. Bummer.
Finally, I tested my talent on the tennis court, where, thanks to my improving backhand, I was finally victorious, albeit in a fifth set tiebreaker.
I am fascinated by the fact that even when snow is covering the baseball diamonds and tennis courts of Pennsylvania, we can play a variety of sports in the warmth, comfort and privacy of our own living room. This is not only a form of recreation, but it can actually be exercise.
Another Wii program features a balance board with which participants can try aerobics, use a virtual hula hoop and do yoga.
Wii bowling tournaments are popping up around the country, including in rest homes, where even wheelchair-bound residents can participate. Wii tournaments are also being used as charity fundraisers.
When I was a kid, our Atari was an exciting Christmas gift, and we spent hours playing Space Invaders, and I have to admit, it did improve my hand-eye coordination.
But today's technology lets us swing for the fence at a big league ballpark and serve aces at Wimbledon. These virtual sports are actually fun.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.