Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Miss Maggie on First

This week's weirdness is that I've been playing Wii baseball.

I've loved baseball since age 6 when I started watching Phillies games on TV with my dad. Every nice day after school, I'd go out to the back yard and throw a tennis ball against the porch step, trying to get it to hit just right, so it would bounce back to me and I could practice catching. I improved my skills enough that the boys in the back alley always chose me for their teams before choosing their brothers. Came as a hard blow to discover I couldn't aspire to be a baseball player because they didn't take girls. Since our town had no local women's softball team, my baseball career ended.

A couple weeks ago, I began reliving my childhood by playing Wii baseball (part of a scheme to get my derriere off my desk chair and get some exercise).  When you play alone on Wii, the system gives you a team of different avatars (animated people).  You bat for all of them.  Each time I play, the system gives me a different set of people, so it's hard to think of them as a team.  I did notice, however, that it always put my brother's avatar on my team as catcher.  So I decided to create another avatar.  And why create a character from scratch when I've got a bunch of series characters to choose from?  So Miss Maggie, my 91 year-old sidekick character, became my first baseman.

The process of making an avatar is interesting.  You can choose body types, face shape, hair and eye color, you name it.  Of course, it gives you limited choices, so Miss Maggie had to settle for gray hair instead of her usual white.  But I was able to give her a shirt that's greenish-yellow, her favorite color.  The avatar doesn't really look at all as I picture Miss Maggie.  Still, when I play baseball, there's now always a familiar face on first base, her reading glasses hanging from her nose, her wrinkled face frowning in concentration as she makes a catch.

You'd think, since I'm holding the controller, that the Miss Maggie avatar would act and play exactly like my own, but she doesn't.  Don't ask me why.  Maybe Wii adjusts for height (Miss Maggie's shorter than me), and probably my own subconscious adjusts for attitude.  I do know that Miss Maggie is an amazing Wii jet skier.  I can't even stay on the course.

The whole experience has begun to show me what I know and don't know about characters who have been living in my brain for 10 years.  I'm in the process of creating a Beth Ann Lee avatar (to cover second base).  Yet I'm not ready to do one of her father.  I realized I don't even know what Hugh's favorite color is.  Which means Pat doesn't know what his favorite color is.  That gives me fodder for an argument in book five (insert evil laugh).  As for Pat, I think I know her well enough to figure it'll take some coaxing to get her to play Wii Sports at all.  She'd rather be in the kitchen.

I've named my Wii baseball team the Fightin' Compression Sox.

Go C-Sox!

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