By Andrew Gilstrap
There are two sports-related endeavors where I would consider myself innately above average: Ultimate (frisbee) and arcade basketball. I love both activities, but since I can’t go out at any given time and just pick up a frisbee and start playing solo, I have much more to say about arcade hoops; I also can quantify and assess each experience. I can’t even tell you when I first played a game of Pop-A-Shot. I moved from Kansas to Arizona in 1993, and I’m not even sure if I had played the game before then. What I do remember is being better than most, if not all, of my friends at the game.
So I’ve been playing arcade basketball off and on for years, but only within the past four or five years have I really taken pride in my abilities in this game. I’m fairly certain I know what my high score is, but I also have doubts since I usually just play and go. Not anymore. I now have an outlet to document my experiences.
I have become so fascinated with this game that I bought an arcade unit from Amazon.com and had it shipped to my apartment. I was lucky to have my wife, Katie, approve of the purchase, but after all we did have an empty guest room in our first apartment together after getting married in March 2011. Katie has never been into athletics her whole life, but she has become pretty good at arcade hoops during our time together. She even seems to enjoy it to a degree, and this certainly played into her approval of the arcade unit.
Which Pop-A-Shot is it?
I ordered the RhinoPlay Double Shootout system for our apartment. I didn’t want something that weighed a metric ton, but I did want a sturdy system. When it arrived, it took a full day — with few breaks — to build, and I even got a little help from one of Katie’s friends. After dropping the backboard on my head a couple times while piecing everything togehter, I now enjoy shooting on it everyday. I even believe it has helped my shot when I go out and play the real game of basketball. I’m still waiting for the day when I can have enough people over to get a tournament going, but I’m new to the area and all of our friends and family live tens of miles away. It’ll happen one day; just wait.
How good am I at the sport of basketball itself, you might ask? I consider myself a solid player, but I won’t stand out there as much as I will when shooting on a Pop-A-Shot. Between playing indoors once a week lately and having the arcade system at home, I have made a lot of progress in my overall basketball skills. But Pop-A-Shot is where I’m always going to stand out. Inspired by this new blog, I vow to travel the Phoenix area and beyond, searching for more apt competition. And, maybe I’ll see that I’m not as transcendent as I think in this activity; or maybe I’ll find out that I am. I invite you to follow me, and we will find out together.