Whatever the reason, I pulled out my 1978-79 APBA basketball game late last night and, after more than 30 years of dormancy, the cards came to life while the rest of the world slept. I only played one quarter of a game. I didn't have all night. Those who are familiar with the sports replay game know that had I opted to play a full basketball contest, it would have taken more than a night to complete.
Alas, the game is plodding and part of the wonderment I experienced while playing it again yesterday was trying to figure how I rolled so many games without losing my mind.
The APBA games, for the uninitiated, are sports replays that use dice and player cards. Gamers roll the dice and correspond the results with numbers on the players' cards. Those numbers are then compared with game boards to determine action. I have replay sets in the four major sports, and I love them all.
But the basketball game is a bit of a struggle to play. There's two versions. The first includes passing and dribbling and it takes hours to play a single contest. The game I favor is a quicker one. It's a solitaire type and it eliminates some of the “action,” instead resorting merely to players shooting from different areas of the court. They either make it or miss it. If a shot fails, the gamer rolls the dice to determine who rebounds it and that person then shoots. It's repetitive. There's much math involved. And there's charts galore to follow.
Here's an example of the way I play. I roll the dice for the opening tipoff to determine possession. Then I roll to find where the first shot is taken. Then I roll the dice to see who shoots the ball. I cross reference that dice roll with numbers on a Column Index to give me the player shooting. Then I roll the dice and check that player's card to see how the shot turned out. If he makes it, I roll the dice and match the result with the Column Index to see who got the assist. If he misses, another roll and another check on the Index for the rebound.
Tired yet? That was one possession. See what I mean? And there's a lot of eyestrain involved when lining up the index numbers and matching them with the players' numbers. Eyestrain? I'd never say that when I was a younger. Now, at my age, I'm worrying about getting headaches because of vision. Sheesh.
But back when I was a kid, I played that game fervently. It was my friend, a consistency in a life of teenaged angst. Trouble with my girlfriend at the time? I'd roll a game and escape from the insanity of hormones and stupid high school drama. Fearing college looming ahead? The APBA game was the security blanket to which I clung.
I chose Boston and Philadelphia for the contest last night. It took a moment to familiarize myself with the game's rules. (I had played other basketball seasons up until 1993 when I became obsessed with the hockey game and then in 1998 when I primarily played the APBA baseball). But soon I was rolling the game. And oddly, I began remembering what certain numbers meant, especially on possession rolls and fouls, without having to pore over the game boards.
Thirty-four years later from the last time I played this game, Julius Erving was hitting a shot from the “D” section of the field, and Bob McAdoo was fouling. Darryl Dawkins had two rebounds in the first quarter for the 76ers and Dave Cowens was invisible for the Celtics. After the first quarter, Philadelphia led, 25-22. Erving led everyone with 10 points. Nate “Tiny” Archibald had seven points for Boston.
Just saying that, just mentioning those names from that era, brings back those days.
Today, I am 50 games from finishing my 1942 baseball replay. I'm undecided upon which next season replay I'll embark upon. I'm leaning toward 1950, 1919 or 1991 in baseball. But the 1979-80 basketball season beckons as well. That's the rookie years for Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. I've never gone this far into a replay without knowing what my next project will be.
More than likely, it'll be a baseball season. Although there are more than 1,200 games in any baseball replay (2,430 in a current replay), those games go much quicker than a basketball game. There are 902 games to play in the 1979-80 NBA season and each one takes forever.
The dice will keep rolling in my home. It always does. And it'll probably be for the baseball games. But whenever I want to recapture that youthful feeling I had, that time when things were a bit more easy and I wasn't old enough to be tainted by the Fear that we learn to deal with through life's experiences, I'll pull out that basketball game.
But I can't play it too long. Eyestrain, you know.