I noticed a growing phenomenon a couple of years ago when Max joined the Indian Ridge Swim Team.
It seemed that practices and meets were not just about swimming; and not just about winning. There is a camaraderie among Pokemon collectors who gather at these pools; so much so that every practice is dotted with Pokemon cards laying on beach towels; on the concrete and on tables under the ramada. Everywhere you look – Pokemon.
I find headlines like
- Pokemon obsession leads to bans at schools
- Pokemon expelled
- Pokemon Craze Challenges Docs | Psychology Today
Oh, my goodness.
I thought it only my duty as a Nana to delve deeper into the details of these strange beings called Pokemon. So, I listen – and pay attention to the games and the most important activity – trading. The wheeling and dealing that goes on is hypnotizing. These children who couldn’t tell you where they left their socks that they literally had just taken off – have memorized every name of the 807 characters and what their powers are and any other statistic, for when they need to discuss. The young traders rattle off names such as Empoleon and Phantump and Zygarde like they are speaking if John or Sally.
It is interesting to watch young swimmer/collectors file in through the gate with a handful of cards with dog-eared edges from the wear, pouring out of their pockets. Some kids walk in with small containers of cards and then there’s Max, who has a ginormous 4 inch binder weighing in at 5 pounds or so. On more than a couple of occasions, I hear Abigail informing other children that her brother, Maxwell, is a “master collector” to which the reply is always an enthusiastic “I KNOW!” Seems like he is building his own brand. Hmm.
There is something else that I have learned. There is an unspoken, quiet honor among young Pokemon Traders and Collectors. Books are left open and unattended as the kids are called to their practice or event. Kids waiting for their practice sit atop one of the tables, turning the plastic pages one by one and commenting on this or that feature of the Pokemon character, sometimes removing the card from the sleeve to look at it more closely, and always placing it back in its rightful sleeve among the other treasures, bestowing the dignity of which it is apparently deserved. A white-gloved formally dressed Marine could not have done better.