Experts' corner

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Mark Dizon

Level One - Community

With all the chaos going on in the world - how do we focus on keeping our local pokemon communities together

04/09/2020 by Mark Dizon

The last time I wrote an article was a month ago. How the world has changed so much, in such little time. The article was in preparation of Toronto Regionals – recapping what occurred in Malmo. As the person in charge of recapping events for 60cards, we had many events to recap before the European International. Toronto, Charlotte. All that came crashing to an end as one by one events began canceling. Toronto was canceled after being open for an hour – Charlotte was canceled happening two weeks later – as it moved forward the number one event on the Pokemon Calendar – Worlds was canceled. London would have to wait for another year.

Many players have been left in disbelief. I can say that I was one of those in that camp. Surely, this pandemic isn’t like Team Magma and Team Aqua from Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. Sadly, it is. It is with true heartache and pain that I have accepted that the Pokemon season is over. I was going to write to many of us – but it is for all of us. If the Olympics is canceled – the European Championships – The NBA – The NHL – The Champions league – then so to should we be.

I think most players are looking for answers. Are looking for reasons, are looking for acceptance to understand truly what is occurring. I know many of you might have felt that you wasted your time. That some of you feel that it is unfair. That maybe we should have waited longer to cancel worlds. Some players have qualified for their first world championships and have felt like it was taken away from them. Some players have talked about a falling out in the game. A lot of the reason people play the game is a sense of meaning. The competitive part of them. I find my weeknights odd that I am no longer at the game store. I find my weekends have been completely changed by the fact that I no longer go to events. We are so lucky in Ontario to be able to have so many cups. I think we take it for granted. I really do think we take Pokemon for granted as well. I think we take a lot of things granted. I mean in my head – we had Albany – Milwaukee – Origins – NAIC – Worlds. All these events plus just general events in the World, in your home life have been taken away. Everything you have planned is now gone. Scary isn’t it.

Now that we have gotten the sadness away – I want to talk about the important part. Wherever you are in the world trainer- we should all be practicing self-quarantine and social distancing practice unless we are an essential worker. We should all be focused on making sure we are doing our best to keep ourselves safe and keeping others safe. I know this has been said enough and over and over again – however it is truly important. This is Toxic from the video games, however, there is no antidote to this status condition currently. Nor do I think it will be coming anytime soon. We will be home and with no events for quite a bit.

So the question now becomes, What do I do with this time? What is there for me to get my Pokemon Itch Out? I have an article coming out soon discussing how to approach PTCGO tournaments. I think that’s always on the forefront of us to discuss. If we can’t play cards physically, we should be going online. The client is not perfect but it does provide us a way to play and play with our friends. I for one had a great time streaming a PTCGO tournament that I played online with members of our community. It allowed me to play in a competitive environment with people I knew and just had a great time doing it. You can watch the videos here on my Twitch Channel https://www.twitch.tv/videos/577590615?collection=0CWsEQSYABavOA . I think this specific tournament organizer did a lot of things correctly and will be discussing that in my upcoming article. I really wanted to take this time to address everything that has happened now that it has had time to settle in.

 

When people ask what is most important in Pokemon to you?  And this can be answered by many different people in many different ways. To me, the most important thing about Pokemon is the People and the community that the game builds. I have played Pokemon and Magic the Gathering and even Yugioh in the past competitively over my eighteen years of playing competitive card games. Aside from the petty drama that happens in the Pokemon community – there is no more welcoming community in a card game other than Pokemon. The amount of true friendships, I have made in this game – makes this pandemic hurt even more. To believe that the next time I might see certain friends might be a year from now really hurts and makes me thankful that I was able to attend Collinsville Regionals. Right now for me, my heart doesn’t hurt for the CP we didn’t gain but the friendships we are not able to continue.

Aside from my fiancée and family – the pokemon community in my region are people I talked to on a daily basis and spent time with on a weekly basis. I remember hugging the boys from team taste in Detroit during Collinsville regionals and be excited about the upcoming Pokemon Regionals in Toronto. Zak Turchansky, a Canadian player from Edmonton that I met at last years Toronto regional was someone that I was able to become good friends with and discuss things with regarding Pokemon and Magic is someone that I also didn’t get to see at that event. There were many locals that were hurt by the decision of cancellation of Toronto regionals, and many players worldwide who are hurt by the cancellation of future big events. It is okay to feel that hurt – however, it is the right thing for these organizers to do. I think this is an event that should bring us closer together.

If we compare how the Pokemon League is in the game and how the trading card is in real life. In the game, you venture town to town collecting gym badges on your way to being able to combat and earn on the way to the Elite Four. In real life we go from event to event trying to earn championship points to be able to compete in the World Championships. Along the way, you build friendly rivalries in real life and in the game. You get to know the people you battle or face off against and remember them. You should know that all that you are feeling right now, many other people in your community are feeling the exact same way. We should all be reaching out to each other and checking in on each other. Many of our friends are debating if they should be continuing with this in the future – and I think we need to keep up hope and discussion regarding this. People aren’t always ready to be able to say how we are truly feeling. It is hard to be vulnerable – but most of us are in the same boats. I spend a lot of time on Pokemon Twitter, looking at deck discussions, events that are coming up, real-time happenings at events. Now on Pokemon Twitter, I see some players and personalities being there authentic selves being able to talk about what is truly on their mind and recognizing that they feel the same way as me.

It is really easy to focus on the negative. It is really easy to think about how much we have lost due to this pandemic. However, we are all in this together. We are a community of many strong. Heyfonte was huge – Virbank City was huge. Our events are huge. We are obsessed with Pokemon. Though Pokemon can sometimes have toxic individuals or topics, the overarching culture is Positive around our love for this phenomenon. Not all of us are outgoing, not all of us are extroverted. Some of us are afraid to reach out. I think if you have read this far and I know its not your normal conversation when it comes to the game but it is an important one. Take the time to reach out to not only your friends but some of the other people at your local game store that would probably love to talk to someone right now. It’s a good time to focus on the good things to come out of our game. It’s important to focus on how the community and playing make us feel. So whether it is firing up the discord and playing online against each other or sharing some memes in the group chat. I know nothing compares to shuffling cards and playing in paper across from each other – but we are here to try and make it work. Also, think about your local game stores. They also still need support right now when it comes to buying cards to reach out to them. 

That’s it for me today. We don’t know what’s happening or what’s going to change. However, we can focus on the fundamentals and that’s our community. Through thick or thin this community will be here. So let us focus on what we can change with the people in our community. Stay safe and enjoy all the Rebel Clash Content that has been brought up. I’ll talk to you more about online tournaments next week.  

 

[+0] okko


 

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