I did a special Pokémon GO thing last weekend. I’m going to assume most readers don’t play Pokémon GO so I’ll leave the wonky stuff out and focus on what I found most fascinating. Pokémon GO has a special event that requires an invitation. If you don’t have an invitation then you can’t participate. A couple weeks ago I received an invitation with a time and a location where the event would take place. The location was a park, not too far from my work, so I took a long lunch to check it out.
The meeting place was in the middle of a soccer field. The park is fairly large so you could access to the field from all sides. As I walked up I immediately noticed the diverse group of people standing around and more were approaching from all directions. I could not believe how many people were there. The group topped out at somewhere between 60 or 70 people. The demographics were amazingly diverse. There were men in well tailored suits and women in very nice business attire. There were older people that were in their 80’s and elementary kids on BMX bikes. There was an unshaven guy in pajamas with a VERY young infant, my guess is about 2 or 3 months and a bubbly teenage girl who moved through the crowd acting like a YouTube personality. I cannot stand the, “Hey guys…” thing that they do in unboxing and review videos. If you’ve seen any of them you know exactly what I’m talking about, but I digress. Just about every demographic was accounted for. It really was surprising to see all the different people.
The way the events work is: a special pokémon appears, everyone battles it and if successful, you get a chance to catch it. My group defeated the creature but I was not able to catch it. I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed but what can you do? After the event I was walking back to my car when I noticed a guy, about my age, walking with his son who was about my daughter’s age.
I asked the father, “Were you able to catch it?”
I saw the kid’s chin sink into his chest as his dad answered, “I caught it but he didn’t.”
I replied with a cheery, “Yeah, I didn’t catch it either, but there is always next time. Right?”
The kid responded with uncontrollable weeping. The dad pulled his son close and smiled at me. Poor kid was probably going to lose it as soon as he got to the car but still…
The older my kids get the more I rehash some of my early experiences. I have started to shift perspective though. The look the dad gave me really resonated with me. He was disappointed, not because I made his kid cry but because his kid was crying. I’ve felt the same way he did. You have an idea for something new and different but then something doesn’t work out and your kid is left devastated for what is essentially all your fault. The more mundane the disappointment the worse it feels.
When I was younger, probably 7, my dad took me rollerskating. It was special. I had a new baby brother so my dad wanted to have some quality one-on-one time with me. He chose rollerskating because it was something he could do and it was something we had never done before. As to be expected, I was horrible, but as the evening went on I slowly figured it out. I gained more confidence and started skating fairly well as long as I focused on what I was doing. After snacks and some video games we decided it was about time to head home. We started toward the rink for one last trip around when my dad said something I didn’t quite catch before ending it with, “…so we should probably just go.” I nodded my head and entered the rink for one last spin. I spent most of the trip staring at my feet making sure to keep them under me until I looked up to find the exit. That was when I noticed the laughing. I then noticed that there were alot of people laughing, pointing and yelling things at me. Luckily, I was so focused on staying upright that I didn’t really make out what all the people were saying. Instead I made my way through the crowd of laughing boys and made my way to my dad. Feet from him, away from the loud music and flashing lights, a teenage boy pointed at me and said, “That’s the ugliest girl I’ve ever seen!” before bursting into laughter.
It turns out, the DJ had just called out that it was a “girls only skate,” and that was what my dad had said before I skated off for my final trip around the rink. All the jeers and laughing suddenly came flooding back and I was truly humiliated. I was able to make it to the car before breaking down but my dad was there for the whole thing. Now I can picture him helplessly reaching out to grab me as I skated off. I can imagine that feeling of relief when I was skating back, nothing but smiles only to have it stolen away at the last minute. He had to have felt terrible. We never went skating again. After that it was only bowling and movies.
I wonder if that crying kid will think back years from now and remember the fun times he had playing Pokémon with his dad or if he will just remember the disappointment and that jerk who rubbed it in as they walked back to the car.