Capturing Pokemon takes skee ball skills

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It’s nighttime in the Campbell household and we’re sitting down in the living room to eat my version of Bob’s flat dogs while watching a rerun of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” on Hulu.

My chili is nowhere close to tasting like their secret recipe, but since the Bob’s folks won’t share what makes their chili taste so darn good, mine will have to do.

I’m having a conversation with a 21-year-old who will be 22 on Thursday, which really is harder for me to comprehend than the pocket monsters I managed to capture in my smartphone.

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Jess is attempting to explain to me the basic rules of Pokemon Go. At this point, I don’t know what to do with the critters when I capture them.

Earlier on this night, my sweet, patient husband Brett circled around Whitworth College and parked so I could replenish my dwindling supply of poke balls under the cover of darkness. The red and white poke balls are important because those are the ammunition needed to capture the Pokemon. It’s like skee ball at a Chuck E. Cheese in that you toss the ball at a target, only the target is a bouncing Pokemon that dodges the balls. The object is to bonk the monster on the head with the least amount of balls possible.

The bonkage apparently stuns the creature, which allows it to be sucked into the poke ball.

I’m not really sure why I want to do this, but there’s a lot of bright lights during the capture and  its the only way to collect the little fellas.

I ask Brett to park near the courtyard, where three poke stops are located. The Brookhaven Centennial Time Capsule sign, the Whitworh College sign and the Lampton Auditorium sign are all pokestops where poke balls, eggs and other supplies can be secured by getting close enough to the landmark with the app. You spin the signs when they appear on your phone and the items you need are tossed out.

If Brett parks close enough to the landmark sign I don’t have to get out and be seen by the high school kids and some adults just a wee bit older than them who seem to be gathered in the courtyard at all hours.

Besides being a poke stop, it’s also a gym where the red, yellow and blue teams force their Pokemon into battle. I’m on team mystic, a choice I made because it’s the blue team. That’s my favorite color so they must be good. But just like in real life, you won’t be seeing me at the gym, especially if I have to get out of the car and reveal that my super hot character, the ginger chic with flawless skin and perfect curves in the stylish battle gear, is really an almost 50 year old mother of five, who rarely stays awake past 10 on weeknights (or weekends these days).

I ask Jessica about the Pokemon and the eggs I collected. I’ve captured 50 of 250 pocket monsters and six eggs. The eggs must be incubated — I kid you not — and players get one freebie incubator for all of the eggs, unless of course you want to spend real money in this fake world to buy supplies within the game.

To hatch the eggs, the player — me — has to walk two  kilometers per egg. Per egg! One of my eggs requires a 10-kilometer jaunt. So far, I’ve logged in a whole .8 kilometers. At this rate, I may never see what my egg could become.

Jess tries to explain it all to me, but I look at her like she’s trying to teach me quantum physics. She stares at me the way I used to look at my grandmother when I tried to explain the VCR to her. I think the best thing for me to do is uninstall the app and stick to playing Yahtzee. Five dice. Three rolls. Fill in the blanks with what you get. I think I can handle that.

Donna Campbell is managing editor of The Daily Leader. Contact her at