Round 13 Gold Coast Suns v St Kilda A day spent hunting for red, white and black

 

Saturday June 16th, 4.35pm

Metricon Stadium

(Images: Thanks to Nintendo and Google)

Zangoose

I am a Pokémon hunter. In August 2016 I visited my daughter Rachel in Japan. (A daughter who changed her surname when she turned 18 to a Pokémon legendary bird.) We’d lost my mother early in the year, and the prospect of leaving Rachel on this holiday had me sad.  I had spent two weeks following her around while she played the Pokémon Go game, downloaded onto her phone. We went to parks full of people, and I righteously walked the park and put my nose up at the thousands with their faces glued to their phones playing the game. I felt like my mother.

So much for righteousness. On our last day together in Tokyo, I finally agreed to put the game on the phone and played throughout the day. And continued to play.

For my birthday, Rachel sent me a Pokémon Go watch, which enables you to catch stuff without looking at the phone.

I walked more, to catch more Pokémon. I would travel into the city on trams and reload on all the items. The game involves Pokémon (little pocket monsters) of all kinds popping up on the game on your phone, you throw a ball to catch it, and you can walk with it to get more candy to eventually evolve it, often up two levels. You get eggs from Poke stops. Poke stops exist in the imaginary world on our devices, and they are everywhere.  Blue spinning circles that you spin and gain items. You catch. You gain items. You get eggs from the Poke stops, you put them in incubators and walk them, and hatch them and you have more Pokémon. It is never ending. And it’s fun.

Voltorb

I doubled my walking at first.  I learned in my second visit to Rachel a year later, to battle in gyms.  Like Poke stops, they are attached to restaurants, historical sites, post offices, town halls, and there are many around parks and gardens. Then I learned to Raid.  There are 5 levels of raids, the two lowest you can do on your own, and the rest, you need more people. Level 5 Raids involve Legendary Pokémon, very powerful and very sought after.

One day, after my walk with friends in the park, I kept walking around to keep playing. I had played so much in the previous year I was at the top level of 40.  It was a lovely warm day, and I sat at one Gym trying to battle something that was just beyond the reach of one person, even of my level. (Sitting on a park bench, tapping away at my phone, is as physical as fighting in a gym gets.) Suddenly, a group of people descended on the gym, a young boy advised me to jump out of the battle and we’d all raid together.

Thus, started another chapter in my so far isolated Pokémon hunting. Theo, who walks the park with his dog, got me onto the messaging group which consists of people from St Kilda, Elsternwick, Elwood and Caulfield and lo and behold, I had another group of people.  Times and places were suggested, and we would all suddenly appear at one spot and raid together.

Each time we’d meet and raid, some more experienced person would educate me. There is a game this is all based on, that Rachel (and many of the young people I play with) all understand. There are many ages, many different people that I have met through this game. Another community.

Several months ago, there were new events and challenges. Catch a particular, special Pokémon, and you get an item or a chance to catch something.  Tick.  Completed that few months of challenges. And then, Community Days started.

I joined the first at St Kilda Botanical Gardens, and learned that special Pokémon appeared for 3 hours, more candies or special objects were found, more raids happened, and people came together and separated, alone or with friends or groups. At each event, I got to know more and more people, and after this first, three car loads of hunters went from St Kilda to Broadmeadows to catch an ‘unown’ Pokémon, which was rare and shaped like a letter of the alphabet.  It was hilarious. Driving across the bridge with complete strangers and it was mind blowing. These people knew of sites and sources of information that are beyond my brain, but the others playing, they knew stuff that I could only dream of understanding. That day ended at a pizza place and dinner and it was lovely meeting other crazies like myself. And I wasn’t the only older person.

All of this is to give a context to this weeks footy (and probably to confirm to you all that I am way past the crazy stage of life.)

Saturday afternoon was Community Day, between 1-4 special Pokémon appear and we all hunted like crazy around Caulfield Park. The only problem was that Nintendo, (like Optus for the Soccer World Cup) was having a meltdown, and in the end, extended the raiding hours until 6pm.

I was still Pokémon obsessed when I met Gary at the Caulfield Racecourse Glass House Sports Bar.  We found great seats and got ready to see what St Kilda would be like against the Gold Coast Suns. Not very good, it turned out. I kept catching the special Pokémon, half watching, half catching, to make the most of the Community Day special event.

The Sports bar filled up.  When the Saints scored, a roar went up.  We weren’t the only Saints there. On the huge screen, we could see some improvement, and then some stuff ups.  Suns looked lively and fast and way more accurate.  We lost our best defender right at the start, Jimmy Webster – one our most consistent players, and Bailey Rice to concussion.  Two men down early and my Pokémon kept me distracted. I would catch.  Then watch. Then evolve.

At half time, we ate a great meal, refreshed ourselves, and the Community Day came to an end. I could concentrate on the footy, if I dared. I noticed that Gold Coast had slowed down, and we seemed to have stopped their run and were defending better. And then it began. A late goal in the third quarter from Tim Membrey to narrow the big margin.

The final quarter had all my attention, as Saints clawed their way back.  With each goal, the room got noisier and we got more excited. Josh Battle with his third goal of the night. Paddy McCartin gets a banana from the boundary and waves his finger around as if to say, “yes, I was the number 1 draft pick’. Membrey gets a free and a 50 metres penalty and kicks straight. Daniel McKenzie, who had his best game for the Saints yet, puts us within 4 points. When Jade Gresham kicked that goal in the dying minutes to put the Saints 2 points up, after being more than 30 behind at ¾ time, the room erupted. And the Saints hung on. The siren sounded, and the team celebrated. The bar was noisy. None of us could believe we’d pulled it off. You must give it to Saints supporters. We do celebrate wins like it’s a grand final victory. Imagine what we’ll be like when we eventually get one.

The team celebrated with a hearty rendition of our team song, with coach Alan Richardson singing as loud as everyone else.  Three players, all new this year, got the Gatorade spray, as it was the first win since they started at the Saints.

Women passed us on their way out, happy to say they were glad there were more women at the bar.  They’d been sitting up front.  We chatted about how great it feels, how unexpected. Others commented.  The comradery was great. Gary and I liked the experience at the bar. Great food. Easy to sit comfortably (if you got their early enough) and parking across the road.  All in all, a full-on day and night, with great success.

As we got up to leave, soccer fans happily took our place as the bar prepared for a night of Russia World Cup.

All week, strangers congratulate me like I have won the lottery of life. People want to talk and say how pleased they are. The talk about the demise of the coach has evaporated. We showed a little of the future on Saturday afternoon and like what we saw.

Now a bye is at hand and it’s back to catching and sorting Pokémon.

Delibird

 

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About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    You’ve kept this quiet, Yvette. :)

    I think the Suns found themselves a few Pokemeons short in that final quarter.

    Funny how fickle media opinion is now. Did Alan Richardson’s predicament really hinge on whether Billings hit or missed? Do decisions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars get made based on whether the wind gusts at a particular moment?

    Cheers

  2. A new world order Yvette?

    You’ve educated me.

    Btw are you clocking up lots of Km’s with the game?

  3. Yvette Wroby says:

    I have kept this quiet JB. Everyone already thinks I am nuts! Kate, I had to ask Rachel how to check Kms and it’s 3900 + to date! I learn something new every day!

  4. Brilluant… you can now keep a tally on how chasing Pokémon’s could be of benefit to your cardiovascular fitness,, assuming there aren’t too many sessions spent sitting on the park bench. (My obsession is or are steps per day)

    I have to say , I recently walked past a group of people behaving oddly with phones and so I’m now wondering if that is what they were doing.

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