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Sarah Vowell

“One night, he left Stephen and me in the arcade and rushed off to a – this hurt my feelings – “real” game. That night, he missed a foul shot by two feet and made the mistake of admitting to the other players that his arms were tired from throwing miniature balls at a shortened hoop all afternoon. They laughed and laughed. ‘In the second overtime,’ Joel told me, ‘when the opposing team fouled me with four seconds left and gave me the opportunity to shoot from the line for the game, they looked mighty smug as they took their positions along the key. Oh, Pop-A-Shot guy, I could hear them thinking to their smug selves. He’ll never make a foul shot. He plays baby games. Wa-wa-wa, little Pop-A-Shot baby, would you like a zwieback biscuit? But you know what? I made those shots, and those songs of bitches had to wipe their smug grins off their smug faces and go home thinking that maybe Pop-A-Shot wasn’t such a baby game after all.”
I think Pop-A-Shot’s a baby game. That’s why I love it. Unlike the game of basketball itself, Pop-A-Shot has no standard socially redeeming value whatsoever. Pop-A-Shot is not about teamwork or getting along or working together. Pop-A-Shot is not about getting exercise or fresh air. It takes place in fluorescent-lit bowling alleys or darkened bars. It costs money. At the end of a game, one does not swig Gatorade. One sips bourbon or margaritas or munches cupcakes. Unless one is playing the Super Shot version at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, in which case, one orders the greatest appetizer ever invented on this continent – a plate of cheeseburgers.”

Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot
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The Partly Cloudy Patriot The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
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