Posts Tagged sports

Review: Acme Bowl

Today we had a department party (thanks Aaron!) due to how awesome the year has been for Magic. We had it at Acme Bowl, a trendy/more upscale bowling place in Tukwila. I’ve been there before, at previous department parties and with local friends, but I noted a few interesting things to talk about – now that I’ve been there this year, with my blog fully operational!

The first thing that’s sweet about Acme Bowl is that there are music videos on the monitors down the lanes. This is both distracting and hilarious, because (possibly because there’s bar service at the lanes) folk sing along. I know I was singing along and it messed up my game a little bit, but it was all in good fun. I think it really elevates the bowling alley to an event location from the additional ambience.

The second thing I noted was the staff was super friendly. It’s possible that they were being kind due to our catering contract, but thinking back I believe this has usually been the case. The bartender and I also had a great chat about Magic, so there’s evidence they identify with gamers too.

The state-of-the-art bowling electronics were cool, although the random sports shots accompanying “Spare” and “Strike” notices could have been better selected?  Dunno, this one I could go either way on.  Kike most bowling places, there’s a significant amount of maintenance required when lanes malfunction, and that detracted from play experience and just time available.

Overall: B+
Songs Karaokied While Bowling: 2
Lane Reliability: 8/10

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Fantasy Football

I can’t really do a review about fantasy football because (a) I am not a particularly good fan of football (in that, I have watched some games, and I have watched the Superbowl, and I have attended some games, but I am not invested in the sport), and (b) I have never participated in a fantasy football league.  So instead, I ask the reader: have you had good experiences with fantasy football?  What compels you about it as a game?  What about in relation to the sport?  Are they separable?

One issue I have with team sports is that I never really feel invested in the team.  I have felt very invested in the people competing, especially with individual sports and when my friends (or I!) are on a particular team, but I can’t seem to find the “fan bone” that would make me devoted to one in particular.  The closest I came to team devotion was living in Boston when the Red Sox went nuclear during 2003 and 2004, and even then I feel like I was held up by the tide of fandom and not really a part of it.

Lee and I were chatting about fantasy football after work / during dinner, and I got the sense that I am missing out on some interesting social gaming… not to mention the system he outlined is kind of like build-your-own-team.  And if I care about individuals, and not teams, then surely a team of my own construction from individuals I care about would be the solution?  I think I have commented before that I don’t really feel like I can connect with friends on the sports axis, and maybe this is a step in an interesting direction.

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Michael Penna

Mike is one of friends from high school, of particular interest because he and I are more alike now than we used to be, and if we lived near each other, we’d hang all the time.  Back then, I was much more introverted than he by comparison, but we shared a “niceness” streak and were generally friendly people with similar interests, so we got along quite well. As I dabbled in sports, we got to know each other much better, and *really* bonded over Powderpuff football, which of course is when the football team (plus others like me) become cheerleaders and women play football. Mike and I also worked together in student leadership (see Conference Craziness from Yesterdave) and eventually on the student newspaper as well.

Even despite all of this, I was somewhat surprised when Mike contacted me and asked me whether I was attending our 10 year high school reunion.  I’m not sure exactly how likely I thought I was to go, but Mike helped convince me, and hanging out with him was a huge part of why I really enjoyed the week I spent back for my reunion.  It’s one thing to be friends with a person when you live near them and see them every day, but quite another to re-establish friendship after so long apart.  Mike is the kind of guy I know I can be comfortable picking up conversations with, even after years have passed.  In addition, he formed the core of a group of us who went out and chilled on the few nights we saw each other over reunion, because he is awesome and the rest of us gained awesomeness by association.  I don’t do enough to stay in touch with Mike, but thanks to things like Facebook, we are kept mildly up to date with each other pretty regularly… one day I’ll visit him again and we’ll have some new good old times together.

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Wallyball is all about the right amount of randomness plus a lot of teamwork and a lot of mental calculations (that feel great when they work out, and feel silly when they don’t!).  The basic premise is that it is volleyball, with a volleyball-sized raquetball, in a raquetball court, with a volleyball net.  Yeah, crazy, I know.  The walls are legal, even on serves, as long as you don’t hit the ceiling or back wall (or two walls) on the over.

I’ve been playing it off and on with a great, fluid crew from Wizards Saturdays for almost two years.  It’s a fun group activity, even though the activity level is much lower than volleyball.  Usually this is because the ball is hitting a lot of walls / you can use the walls to propel your shot into position – as opposed to normal volleyball, where it’s all about position and shot strength / type.  We’ve had more than a fair share of injuries, because like raquetball, the ball can move in unexpected and dangerous ways.

Overall, it’s great fun, and I recommend it to everyone.  Nothing quite compares (in my team physical activity experience) to the coordination of a volleyball bump-set-serve with the walls to add power… and then continuing the volley with an amazing dig and off-the-wall return.  It’s not really volleyball, but I think I love it more for that, having been crushed in volleyball too many times. 😉

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