• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Sorry, Pokémon fans

I had hoped not to write about Pokémon Go again anytime soon. Truth be told, I’d sort of hoped to never again write about the most popular smart phone-based game ever, but conscience and the lack of a better column idea forced my hand. Before Midway’s City Council meeting Monday, council member Dan Roller told me, not unkindly, that I’d erred in describing a Pokémon “gem” in a Midway cemetery in the Aug. 4 council story and column. Roller pointed out that the item a grandson of fellow council member Libby Warfield had heard was in the historic African-American Cemetery was actually a “gym.” I acknowledged my error, which I’d learned of too late to fix, though the thought of screaming, “Stop the press!” was alluring. Pokémon gyms, you see, are items players catch and use to train their pocket monsters and engage other pocket monsters in battle. I’d heard Warfield say the word, and assumed – always a dangerous practice in journalism – she was referring to gems. Roller told me he thought of mentioning the error before, but figured I’d already received hundreds of emails notifying me of my mistake. (Actually, I didn’t get any. My work email address, by the way, is john@woodfordsun.com.) I told him I hadn’t been sure whether the matter deserved a retraction, correction, clarification or resignation. All night, I tossed and turned, just as I did after watching my first Minnesota Vikings game in person – admittedly, a preseason game, but with great company -- in Cincinnati Friday night. (The Vikings fanship of this Lexington native will be explained in another column if, as is the case today, I can’t think of anything better to write about.) I made another factual error in the Aug. 4 Pokémon column: I wrote that my daughter, Anna, 18 and off to college in New York in 10 days, hadn’t played the game. Turns out she has. Actually, she was the one who informed me that Pokémon players collect gyms, not gems. I was driving her to her dance studio after the paper had gone to press when she informed me of my grave mistake. I responded by asking her to show me what the game looked like. As I was driving, I couldn’t take much of a look, save at stoplights. I can only say that she caught what she described as two quite common and thus nearly worthless pocket monsters on the way. That means, among other things, that people can play the game in a motor vehicle. That’s an idea more frightening than the prospect of Pokémon gyms in a historic cemetery. Walter Bradley Jr. Park And now back to the real world, though I’m certain Pokémon players are using the spruced-up Walter Bradley Jr. Park to hunt for pocket monsters and, yes, gyms. At Monday’s Midway City Council meeting, John Holloway, a member of the citizens’ advisory committee (CAC) charged with improving the park, spoke in favor of a request by a youth soccer team to use a field south of the park. His request was unanimously approved. He also provided a telling anecdote not involving a search for virtual goodies. “Last week, I was working on the Gratz end of things and three small children came through. I said, ‘Oh, are you going to play in the creek?’ and they said, ‘No, we’ve found this secret route to the library.’ And then they went up that trail and I thought, ‘Yes!’” Holloway said. That “secret route” is the result of various clean-up efforts by the CAC and other volunteers who’ve made the park a better place, and compliments from children and other visitors are the only pay they’ll receive. ’Cept for this: “Bravo.”

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