It’s been a while. “Force Your Parents To Play” month is one of the Gym’s creations that go above and beyond what you can find at other leagues across the country. What was once an annual event at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym has been unfortunately pushed aside as our league has grown and as the Gym Leaders have taken on the roles of local and Premier tournament organizers in both the TCG and the VG. “Force Your Parents To Play” month was originally a July event, which we shifted to the holiday season in 2012, then to September in 2013, which was the last time we were able to do it. We think this time of the year tends to be the best for us and most families. Like last time, “Play” month will take on the plural form, as it will span the months of December and January at the Gym.
Before any of you show up with an adult bound in a burlap sack, let us refresh you on how “Play” month(s) works. Whether you are a trainer that already plays at our league, someone who plays the game at home or someone who has never picked up a pokemon card before, if you come to the Gym and bring a “parent” to play, that parent gets a free booster pack. The pack goes to them, mind you, and they get to decide whether they share it with you or keep it for themselves (Mwah, hah, hah…. ah the power of parenting). Each trainer may bring a total of 2 “parents” who may claim 1 pack this month (December) and another if they return in January.
The reason we keep saying “parents” is that we know everyone’s situation is not the same and we are not restricting our promotion to only include those that birthed you. If you have an adult-aged friend or relative that brings you to league or is willing to accompany you to league and learn to play with you, then they work for us. If you are a Masters-aged player and bringing your parent would entail a jailbreak from the Shady Shoals Rest Home, then you may bring another adult in their stead. If you are an adult (driving age or higher) that does not have a child, then come on down and learn to play and claim a pack for yourself. Regardless of who you bring, you are limited to 2 “parents” each month. If you can round up more than that, then please bring as many as you can. If anyone goes above and beyond on bringing new adults/families between now and the end of January, we imagine that we can find a special reward for them. Of course, if your parent already attends league, they may claim their pack.
The Fincastle Gym has one goal in hosting this 2 month event. We want more adults involved in our league. We have been involved in the TCG and VG since 2009 and one thing that we can say for certain is that parental involvement creates a great environment for the Gym. We know that the easy thing to do is shrug you shoulders and say, “I don’t get it” or “I’ll never understand it”. To that we say, “Ha!” If you drive down I-81 at 75 mph while you update your Facebook status on your iphone while drinking coffee and tailgating….. you can learn this game.
Here’s a little more detail on why we at the Gym think you should give it a chance. Pokemon, the video game that spawned the accompanying card game in 1996 in Japan, is an easy-to-learn strategy game that can be played just for fun or competitively. By competitive, we mean that you can travel both locally and nationally and compete in tournaments that ultimately award $500,000 in scholarships, in addition to lots of collectible promo items, booster packs and travel allowances to major events. By strategy, we mean that you can expand your strategic skills in a number of ways. You can pick your favorite characters and build decks or teams around them. You can get creative and explore the card base and put together any deck that you can imagine. Those new to the game or less willing to branch out can visit multiple sites (most of which cost to join) and copy their lists and learn strategies that they have worked out for you. Whichever path you take, getting engaged in a strategy game like this, which we most closely relate to chess, is an excellent exercise for the mind, strengthening everything from reading skills to math skills to critical thinking. We love to point out that you can’t play this game without talking to your opponent, which we feel is an important skill to maintain in a world where people stay buried in their phones and devices.
Since the creation of our league, we have had some amazing families involved at the Gym. Unfortunately, changes in employment and interests have forced some of them to move on. Having a strong base of parents and older players makes the environment more enjoyable and increases the level of play in all age groups. To those who are interested in the competitive aspect of these games, we can say the following with confidence…. the best way to make your kids better at the game is to get involved and learn it for yourself.
If you don’t have a great supply of cards (or any at all), we have decks that you can borrow at league. While some of your kids may be potential teachers, we also know that they may not be the best teacher for you. If they like to give you their weakest deck and then beat you senseless with their best one, you are probably not going to think much of the game. So, if you want to learn from one of the Gym Leaders, lets us know when you arrive and we’ll get you set up. We’ll do our best to help you have a good time learning and playing. One thing that we hope you will take away from this is that whether you play for fun or competitively, there are few things better than spending a Sunday afternoon playing games with your kids.
“Force Your Parents To Play” month starts this Sunday, 12/6/15, at the Fincastle Library and continues until the end of January 2016. See you at the Gym!