Kayla Strayer may have only been a Daily Globe reporter for a couple of short months before leaving for a TV station in Grand Forks, N.D., that’s also owned by Forum Communications Co. But she did leave behind something that’s made a mark — in the McGaughey household, anyway.
Not long before Kayla told me she was taking the Grand Forks job (she’s doing on-air work up there), I was telling her about how my family rented a Wii game system over a rainy weekend and loved it. Kayla then said she had a Wii she rarely used, and then asked if I wanted it. I said, “Well, sure, I’d be happy to buy it from you,” but really didn’t think a lot about the conversation afterward.
Well, the day Kayla gave notice, she did two things while in my office. First, she gave the bad news. Second, she gave me the Wii system as a “peace offering” — I believe those were her words at the time. She didn’t want any money for it, she insisted; she merely wanted it to be in the hands of a family who would use it and enjoy it.
Needless to say, this has been a great and unexpected gift for all of us. At first, Becca and I debated whether or not we would wait until Christmas to surprise the kids with the Wii, but some blah day eventually came around and we decided, “the heck with it.” I think we’d already used the Wii once or twice already on the pretense that Kayla had loaned it to us. Finally, we decided to say it was a gift … so we went out and bought a couple of games to own and play whenever we liked.
The two games that have gotten easily the most use are Wii Sports and Wii Just Dance For Kids. We have some others, including a Mario and a Mater’s Tall Tales, but the time spent on those is nowhere near comparable.
Grace, who loves dancing and is in her third year of lessons at Kay Williams Prunty’s The Dance Academy, takes it pretty seriously on the Wii and loves to score as many points as possible. She has her favorites, and can perform the Wiggles’ “Do the Monkey” darn near perfectly. Zach, who doesn’t take his dancing (nor much of anything, for that matter) seriously, nevertheless loves the Smash Mouth tune “All Star” as well as “Who Let the Dogs Out.” The latter, which I’ve seen G and Z do in tandem, is a tour de force of hoofin’ hilarity.
The Wii Sports game has gotten even more use than its dance counterpart. Most played, easily, are bowling and golf, of which Zach is a huge fan and Grace seems to be getting a bit more interested in. On the lanes, it must be said that Grace is probably the most consistent when it comes to scores; I can bowl 200 and then 130, for instance, while Grace will usually get in the 170 to 180 range every time. The Z Man, on the other hand, is wildly inconsistent, probably because his attention span in the game is all over the place. If he could concentrate for 10 entire frames on what he’s doing, he’d be amazing. But besides intentionally rolling the ball backward toward the audience, and doing a throwing motion repeatedly before letting the ball go (I compare it to the Flinstones’ characters running in place before they actually start going anywhere), his efforts are filled with highs and lows — and, of course, a laugh or two.
We recently discovered some additional holes in the golf game that we’d not tried before, and they seem to get progressively difficult. The last of nine holes features, I think, five different islands — in real life, does a golfer take a small helicopter to each? — and all of us have put many a shot in the drink. But there have been memorable shots over the last several weeks, including a Zach chip-in eagle (I think I was more euphoric than he was).
So, Kayla, even though I’m sure I thanked you for the Wii when you gave it to us, consider this another expression of gratitude. We — Wii — absolutely love it.