The Fincastle Pokemon Gym is well into its 3rd year of existence. In that time, we at the Gym have brought many new ideas that go beyond what you can find at most Pokemon leagues across the country. Some, like the Gym Leader Challenges, are available all of the time, while others are on special occasions or yearly traditions. Our favorite tradition is “Force Your Parents To Play” month at the Gym. The most non-traditional part of this event is that we have altered the time of year each time we’ve done it. Our first try was during the summer months. We’ve also tried over the Christmas holiday season. This year we will start “Parents” month to coincide with the start of the new TCG season with the hopes of bringing in a few parents at a time where they can see an entire season from start to finish. We also plan to extend the event. So, with all that being said, September and October are both “Parents” months at the Gym.
For those of you not familiar with the tradition, here is how “Force Your Parents To Play” month works. If you bring a parent to play the TCG during the month, that parent gets a booster pack. Whether they keep it or decide to share it with you is totally up to them (so you’d better be nice). Each trainer at the Gym may bring a total of 2 “parents”. That parent is eligible to claim 1 pack in September and 1 pack in October. We are pretty open on our definition of parent, so if you have an adult-age relative/friend that is willing to learn to play, we will accept whoever brings you to league. If you are a Masters player, you may substitute a parent for another adult. Just remember that no matter who you chose to bring, you are limited to 2 “parents” each month. If your parent already comes to league, they are still eligible to claim their pack.
Our goal in this event is simple. We at the Gym want more adults to be involved. During our league’s existence, we have had some great parents and families involved but have lost several of them to career moves or changes in interest. Parental involvement make for a stronger league, more competitive players in all age groups and a great playing environment. Parents, if you choose to come and just collect the pack, that’s perfectly acceptable. Before you declare that Pokemon is something that you’ll never understand…. give it a chance.
There are many reasons that the game introduced in 1996 in Japan is still going strong (and growing now more than it ever has). Pokemon is an excellent strategy game that can be played at very competitive levels or just for fun. The beauty in playing and building decks is that it is a very creative process. You can throw together all of your favorites into a deck and play with no real strategy or you can discover combinations of cards and develop your own personalized strategy. Our favorite part of Pokemon is that it is a game that you can play with your kids no matter what age they are. Every year at Nationals we see players from as young as 5 yrs old to players that are retirees. For younger players, it strengthens both reading and math skills while making them think critically and creatively. You can’t play the game without talking…. which means that it is a great way to talk with and meet new people.
We could go on but we hope you see our point. You cannot go wrong by spending time with your kids and in the process, you might find Pokemon to be a game that you enjoy for yourself. Come give it a try… the worst that will happen is that you’ll earn a free booster pack. We have several loaner decks available if your kid(s) don’t have enough cards to make you one. If you play and are interested in making better decks, let us know. We can supply you with deck lists of just about any competitive deck in the format or help you put something together from what you have at home. Also, if your kid does not seem to be the best teacher (or just gives you some random cards so that they can crush you with their best deck), ask one of our 4 Gym Leaders to show you how to play. However complicated it may seem, it is a very easy game to pick up.
We hope that this tradition will find a permanent place in September, as it is always the 1st month of the new season after rotations take effect each year. We feel that this is the best time to try the game out, especially if you would like to participate in any of the events that are coming later this season. “Parents” month(s) begins this Sunday at the Gym. Join us and we promise that you’ll have a good time. See you at the Gym!