Monday, November 25, 2013

APBA Thanksgiving

When I was younger and a budding APBA enthusiast, I used the Thanksgiving break from high school as a time to really play the solitaire basketball game that I, unlike nearly everyone else who rolled a few games of roundball, enjoyed.

Now, as an adult, I still use the holiday to catch up on games in whatever replay I'm undertaking.

It's a holiday tradition, and what a great one it is. Stuff yourself with turkey, watch a football game or two on television and play more APBA games than usual.

I began playing the statistically-based dice game when I was in school. I was introduced to the APBA company with its football game, but a year later, I took on basketball. It's a plodding game that, in the quicker solitaire mode, boiled down to players shooting the ball, rebounding and assisting. It still often took more than two hours just to play a game. For some reason, I obsessed with that game and I truly loved it.

But, as a school student, there wasn't much time for me to play many games. Fitting a two-hour game into an evening of homework, telephone talking and television watching was difficult. I didn't need much sleep, even then at an early age, but my parents could tell if I stayed up late to play the game. I tried the excuse that some of the games were west coast contests and had late start times, hence my sleepy look in the mornings. It didn't work.

So, the holiday break came at a great time. I could play several games during the day on the Thanksgiving Thursday and then on the subsequent Friday we also had off from school. And, because I was a nerd then and didn't have a jam-packed social life, I had plenty of time for playing the game.

I carried that over to adulthood. I am off from the newspaper job where I work on Thanksgiving and I generally get in a few games in the morning. In the seven holidays since my wife passed away, I've spent Thanksgiving dinner in a different place each year. When you have no family, others feel pity and, like taking in a stray dog, feel obligated to ensure I'm not alone. But it's the APBA games I want the most that day; it's the stability I seek in the unstable times of holidays.

I return to work at my one-man bureau office the day after Thanksgiving, but in the news world I reside, that day is usually the slowest news day of the year. One year, a woman charged with capital murder decided to plea to a murder one charge on the Friday following Turkey Day. Another year, a man hid in an attic and then had a shoot out with local police. Both of those events broke up the routinely slow day.

But on the other Fridays, while the rest of the world lay back an extra day and digested more turkey and pie, I'd sit in the office alone and, while waiting for something to happen, I'd deal with APBA. I'd either bring the game from home and roll a few games at work, or I'd bring the notebook I use to record games and fill out the lineups for scores of upcoming games.

Thanksgiving is always a good time to get serious with a replay. If I'm just starting a season, as I often did with the basketball game in the late fall, it was the point where I'd knock out several games and set the pace and further my commitment to the game. If I reached a slow, burned out stage in a long baseball replay, it was a time to motivate myself to surge on and complete the season.

This year, it'll be the same. Games in the morning, a football game later on the television and evening APBA contests will round out the holiday. It's a time-honored tradition.

APBA Thanksgiving, everyone.


  1. Some day, I'm going to do a round-robin tourney with the three available 1941 football teams (Bears, Giants, Packers) during the "Christmas Story" marathon. Maybe throw in the '42 Redskins to even it out.

  2. I thought the slowest news day of the year was the day after the All Star Game. Then I realize that news for some people means more than just baseball scores.