www.herald-journal.com
What ever happened to pinball or pong?

February 16, 2009

by Jen Bakken

One night all three of my children were home.

It was a rare occasion. Bradey, my oldest son, was home from college; Bryer, my 11-year-old son, and Brynna, my eight-year-old daughter, were all there with me.

All the “Bs” were in the hive and this mom was excited. While I had big ideas of playing board games and doing things as a family, the kids had other ideas.

When I suggested playing Monopoly or Clue, they looked at me like I was crazy.

Though a bit disappointed, I decided it was alright that family time wasn’t at the top of their list this evening.

My sons were in the living room playing a game on the XBox 360, my daughter was in the bedroom playing a different game on the Playstation 2, and mom ended up doing laundry.

Maybe I could have made a game out of my laundry duties and enticed them to help me? Is it possible to make laundry a fun chore?

Standing from a distance we could see how many dirty socks we could throw into the washing machine.

While emptying pockets, we could have a competition to see who had the most change, gum wrappers, or lint. (Bradey would win this for sure. I’ve been telling him since he was four to stop leaving everything in his pockets).

Examining each article of clothing, we could see who had the biggest and worst stain. (Bryer would definitely take first place. Sometimes I wonder if he actually tries to get as dirty as possible).

We could count and see who has the most clothing of the same color. (Brynna would be declared number one with her wardrobe of pink).

Realizing there was no way I could get the kids to have fun doing laundry, or myself for that matter, I went about the task while they played video games.

When the younger two went to bed for the night, my oldest said, “Hey mom, wanna play hockey?”

Initially my reaction was to decline is offer, but since I absolutely love hockey, I thought I would give it a try.

Of course my NHL team was the Minnesota Wild, and my son was the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He quickly explained how to move my skater and what buttons would enable me to pass the puck, make a slap shot or wrist shot and – my favorite – what to button enabled you to check another player.

Much to his irritation, he had to give me these directions many times.

“Wait, wait. Which button to I use to pass again,” I’d ask. “Which one is for a slap shot?”

The inability to keep all the game controls straight was just as frustrating to me as it was to him. The only thing I could remember was how to check.

Right off the bat, I received a penalty for slashing. I hadn’t intended on slashing Bradey’s guy in the face, but somehow I did.

The first period ended with the Penguins having made over 20 shots on my Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. The Penguins goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, only had to make one little save.

The pretend game announcers continued to insult my team, “What are the Wild doing?” they would say. “Are they playing a hockey game or watching one?”

Though I tried to check, and probably focused on hitting more than anything else, I don’t think I ever made contact with anyone. My son had no difficulty in hitting my players, which would cause my controller to shake.

When the second period began, I was still hoping to get the hang of the controls and the required multi-tasking.

The next thing I knew, my son was laughing. “Mom! You just scored on your own goalie!”

He kept cracking up and forced me to sit through what he called the “hilarious replay” I just shook my head and quit playing.

Obviously I wasn’t going to get the hang of this game. The best part was being able to pick your team and design their jerseys; the rest of it was far too complicated for this ol’ mom.

What ever happened to pinball or pong? Now those were games I could play!