I was younger, perhaps twenty years ago I think it may have been,
there was a game I wanted.
played soccer at the time. I even had a monthly magazine subscription
to one of the national magazines for the sport, though if you
ask me the name of it now, I couldn’t tell you. What I do recall
is Kyle Rote Jr., a player in the North American Soccer League,
was prominently noted throughout each issue.
month, on the inside cover, was an advertisement for a soccer
game. It was hailed as being all the rage in Europe. It showed
actual figures, on a replica field, that you could move and play
the game with.
looked brilliant. Marvelous. Fun.
I wanted it.
I couldn’t find it at the time. A tabletop soccer game? In the
United States? Not the most in demand of items for stores.
four or five years later, while walking around a local mall, I
was riding an escalator in a store that was preparing to close
up shop for good. While descending between levels and gazing off
in different directions, I spotted something.
a table with other clearance items was a soccer game. Could it
be? Could it possibly be?
I bought it without hesitation.
it was horrible.
ball didn’t move smoothly. It did however, move much faster than
you could move your hands (or any of your players). In short…
one simulated kick, and the ball flew out of bounds. Creating
an ongoing gameplay of kick, out of bounds… kick, out of bounds…
kick, out of bounds. And not just out of bounds, but almost always
out of bounds off the edge of the table across the room and under
suppose investing a great amount of time would have brought about
some skill improvement. A bit of touch and softening of actions
on the pieces to adjust how the ball responded. Maybe get better
than constantly picking the ball up off the floor. But I can still
vividly remember thinking that it wouldn’t help. Consider…
was supposed to be a two-player game. None of the figures moved
on their own. That means twenty-two figures on the field, and
even the most talented of participants couldn’t move all eleven
of their pieces while at the same time playing the ball.
a lot of scoring. Not a lot of fun. LOTS
learned a valuable lesson from that purchase, just one aspect
of buyer beware. Products, regardless of how closely they resemble
the picture, are not always the same in use at home. I still feel
a phantom pain in my wallet today thinking back on it.
lesson has served me well over time. Skepticism will do that for
you in the world of advertising. We all have had experiences in
seeing something in person… opening boxes… and finding the reality
far less than the promise.
times, as I am watching television, or flipping through a magazine,
I wonder… How many people out there are looking at these products
the way I used to look at a soccer game? And how many of them
finally buy these products, only to feel the way I felt?
more than would ever admit it.)
~ ~ ~
the early days of the In My Backpack web site, I was trying
several different ways to present material.
journal entries were referred to as “A Momentary Lapse…” for
a period of time, which eventually transitioned to “Are you
chewing gum?” for a bit. Eventually, after a few restarts, modifications,
and relaunches, the Now Playing area took over.
of occasional segments—appearing perhaps ten times a year or
so—was called Random Thoughts, which I described as…
long for “A Momentary Lapse…”… Not enough for a full article…
Need to get them off my “ideas to work on” list…
essay was originally created and presented as a Random Thoughts
entry. I’m bringing it back as a From the Backpack offering
because I’m curious about the content and the effort. But, worth
noting, it may still seem a bit incomplete, needing more development,
and may or may not have gone through some additional edits and
re-writes beyond my usual finds when searching the archives.