05 March 2012

On the Road to Being a Pokemon Master

Teddy has been a Pokemon fanatic for the last few years.  It started by watching Daddy play Pokemon on the DS and on the computer. Then it moved to watching the show, getting the toys and stuffed animals and being able to quote Pokemon moves chapter and verse.  For the last six months or so, he's actually gotten into the Pokemon TCG.  At first, it was just cool to look at the Pokemon cards and see what moves were there.  Then, when watching Daddy play with my nephew, Robbie, Teddy started wanting to play as well.  We started with pre-made decks and, for awhile, that wasn't too bad.  He wasn't ready to play anyone other than Daddy.

But then we took him to the pre-release for the newest expansion, Next Destinies, held at Outer Limits Boro.  We'd been to one of the Pokemon Nashville League events before, but it had been awhile.  That had been like a toe dipped into the water.  The pre-release was more like cannonballing into the deep end.

Even though Teddy was the youngest player there (and, quite probably, is the youngest in the league), he was welcomed with open arms, playing against others in the junior division and being supported by the older players when one of his matches went into sudden death.  He didn't win much, but he also didn't care.  The fun was in the playing.  I was actually really proud of him, because, being six, he has a tendency to get upset when things don't go his way.  But he just shook the hands of his fellow players, said, "Good game" and went on to the next bit of play.

That's Teddy on the end on the right.  It was his last match of the day.

Because of his good sportsmanship, we decided that we'd try taking him to the Sunday League meeting up in Madison.  And, while the first week we went he didn't have a lot of people wanting to play with him, his visit this past weekend gave us a glimpse into his future.

Along with the usual "get together and play", there is a six-week program for some of the younger players called Catch-Six, designed to teach life skills through Pokemon.  We figured that it would be a good thing for Teddy to participate in, maybe helping him with some of the issues typical for six year old boys.  We missed the first week because we had something else going on that weekend, but Rich took Teddy for week two this past weekend.  And Teddy made a great impression.  Even though he's the youngest, he had the best recall of any of the kids in the program.  It was a great start for him, and I was proud of him when Rich told me about it later.

After the Catch Six program, Teddy went among the players to find people to play against and had a fantastic time, as we knew he would.  There were a lot of people getting ready for State next weekend, trying out their decks and getting a feel for how they'd play.  We weren't going to bring Teddy to States, knowing that he's still very much a beginning player with a less-than-optimal deck.  We knew that he'd have no chance of doing well and we didn't want to see him disappointed.

But Rich was talking with Professor Rick (the coordinator of the Nashville area League) and he encouraged us to bring him anyway.  Yes, he probably wouldn't win.  He needs to work on strategy more than what he has so far.  But it would be great practice.  Teddy is in the junior league, which runs up to age 10, and Rick predicted that by the time he was 9 or 10, he could walk away with all of it.  He's got the knowledge, he just needs to work on the strategy and get the good decks together.  That will come in time.  So getting him to more events like State will only help him in the long run.  To help him have the best experience possible, Rick also gave Rich (it gets confusing with these same names) cards for Teddy to help build his deck.

So next Saturday, we'll all be embarking on a new journey. Teddy will be attending his first honest-to-God competition.  And I'll be bringing him to his first honest-to-God competition.  I suspect it will be the first of many.  And I'm actually looking forward to it.  Is it what I was planning on doing for my birthday weekend?  No, of course not.  But do I mind?  Not in the least.  Because what better gift could I get than to see my eldest happy, doing something he enjoys?