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CANOGA PARK : Pogs Are a Hit With 25 Young Competitors

When Adam Holden of Chatsworth, who had just rendered a glowing description of his latest baseball feat, was asked which he would prefer: winning a Pogs tournament or hitting a home run, the 11-year-old didn’t even hesitate.

“A Pogs tournament,” he said, surprised at even the question.

Maybe it was the setting: An official Pogs tournament held Saturday at Topanga Plaza mall in Canoga Park--an event that drew the appearance of Bill Hodson, the man who brought the Pogs game to mainland America.

Officiating simultaneous Pogs (or TROV) tournaments at The Broadway department stores throughout Southern California and in parts of Arizona, TROV USA sent representatives to the Topanga Plaza for an expected showing of at least 150 players. TROVS is a brand name which refers to treasure trove.

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While only about 25 competitors participated, it still proved to be a tension-filled event with one championship match going down to the wire.

“I was really nervous when we started,” exclaimed 10-year-old Michael Crane of Chatsworth, a winner of the division for children aged 10 and over. “I’ve only been playing for four months, but I could see myself playing for a long time.”

Faye Chacon of Northridge, a 9-year-old who walked away with the 9-and-under division title, beamed, saying, “I’ve never won anything before.”

Adhering to company president Hodson’s promotion of the game as one with “a positive impact on all kids who play,” TROV USA tournaments feature a prize for every child who participates.

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“That way everybody walks away with something,” explained Hodson. “It keeps the fun in the game and teaches the kids sportsmanship . . . how to lose gracefully.”

The game--a cross between marbles and trading cards--involves tossing a plastic “slammer” at a stack of cardboard chips with the aim of getting as many as possible to flip over. The Pogs that flip can then be claimed as part of your collection.

“I have 10 artists working on 250 random designs featured on the TROV discs and slammers,” said Hodson. “The kids like to compete for the different designs.”

Meanwhile, Adam’s mother, Michelle Holden, had her hands full.

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Adam did not advance to the second round of tournament play and was walking dejectedly back to her.

“It’s hard, honey, isn’t it?” Holden said, consoling him. “It’s like losing in baseball.”


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