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Column: Wishing for Pokémon levels of energy
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas

Did you know there are over 400 species of Pokémon? My oldest recently handed me a binder full of Pokémon cards and a book that appears to be an encyclopedia of Pokémon.

He excitedly told me about certain cards and their “damage.” Damage seems to refer to some kind of point system in the game played with Pokémon cards. 

Then he ran off to get back on his bike, leaving the binder with me on the front porch, saying something along the lines of, “You can look at it. Have fun!”

Apparently parenting is pretending to be interested in Pokémon. 

I have no idea if he actually knows how to play the game. And I sure don’t know how to teach him. But somehow he keeps accumulating Pokémon cards. I don’t recall purchasing a single one.

My youngest is getting into it now, too. He recently spread Pokémon cards out on the table one by one, also inviting me to look at all his Pokémon cards and enjoy. 

Pokémon started as a role-playing game, and the first Nintendo Pokémon game was released in the mid-1990s, according to Britannica. I missed the phenomenon. 

The most experience I had with Pokémon was the Pikachu character in the video game Smash Brothers, which also featured Mario characters, Zelda characters and others. Pikachu is basically the cute, yellow face of Pokémon. Other well-known characters include Squirtle, which is just fun to say, and Charmander.

In Pokémon, there are Pokémon trainers who have their Pokémon battle each other — I think. There are also Poké balls, half red, half white with a black band with a small circle in the middle. You may remember the recent Pokémon Go game that cleverly used augmented reality so players could search the real world using their phones and within the game find Pokémon. My mom was into that for a while. I didn’t pretend to be very interested.

I did once feign enough interest in this franchise to throw a Pokémon birthday party. I ordered a bunch of ping pong balls and colored them like Poké balls. Then I hid them in the yard for the young Pokémon trainers to find. My yard guy was still finding them months later. I don’t think he knew anymore about Pokémon than I did.

Now, I just find Pokémon cards all over the house. Maybe I should start confiscating them and one day beat my kid at his own game.

Or maybe I should go buy some more Lisa Frank coloring books and some sparkly stickers. Puff paint, too. Next time he’s telling me about some imaginary creature, I’ll start gushing about “My Little Pony” characters or maybe “Carebears,” though I’d have to get up to speed on those, I don’t recall any names.

That unbridled excitement of childhood is something to behold, though.

The same excitement he brings to a stack of Pokémon cards is nothing compared to the excitement he brings to playing with his friends. They will approach one another on the street with smiles spread across their faces, shouting and galloping toward the other. And they just saw each other the day before. 

Imagine what the world could accomplish if adults could find that kind of enthusiasm and harness it for useful activities and relationships. 

I’m not picking up a Pokémon hobby, but maybe I can pick up a little of this kid’s energy with these Pokémon energy cards.

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a North Hall resident. 

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