How, as an adult, do I tell someone I play a game consisting of dice and cards and baseball players without looking either childish or creepy?
I’ve tried to explain the hobby and how APBA is really a complex game that many adults — some older than I — have played for decades. I’ve tried to tell them about how each player card replicates his real season; a great season is reflected with great hitting numbers on the player’s stat card; a bad season has lots of ground out and strikeout numbers.
In other words, I try and make it sound more, for lack of better wording, adult like.
But as I get more fervently involved in my description, discussing the uncanny realism of the game and the zen and peace it brings me during stressful times, I notice my audience fading.
They take on either a muted horrified look, as if I were going into detail about maiming animals or selling children into slavery, or a more pitied expression. It’s that look of, “That’s nice. How long have you lived in your parents’ basement?” Or, “Wonderful. Are you a Master Wizard in Dungeons and Dragons, too?”
So, I oft keep it to myself about my obsession of the game.
And that’s difficult because some things happen that bear sharing. For instance, the other day, I was replaying Cincinnati vs. Houston’s April 25, 1981, game. Tom Seaver was pitching for the Reds in my game. The contest was scoreless through nine when I realized Seaver was pitching a no-hitter. I kept Seaver in through the 10th and he mowed down three Astros in a row. In the top of the 11th, Ray Knight singled in Dan Driessen and the Reds led, 1-0. All Seaver had to do was get through the 11th,which he did.
It was the most amazing pitching performance I’ve ever had in this game. And, of course, while I talk like it is, it’s not real. So, if I were to babble on about it, the person I was sharing this with would not have the same perspective and I would come across as a sad, lonely person.
It’s a great example of irony. This game that keeps me from being some brooding introvert is the element people use to think that I am some brooding introvert.
And the baseball world I create that gives me relaxation and peace of mind is the cause for a fine line of differentiated tension between me and others.