I Promise You, Pokémon Cards Aren't Just For Kids

I Promise You, Pokémon Cards Aren't Just For Kids

It took some time to gain enough confidence to begin actually playing the game competitively. Once I started, though, there was no going back.
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Right before the summer after my senior year of high school, I was getting bored.

I was bored of school, bored of the sports I played, and bored of my job and bored of the usual things that took up the bulk of my time. One day, in early May, I was watching videos on YouTube when a video by the channel maxmoefoePokemon appeared in my recommended feed. I watched the entire 10-minute video of a hyper Australian man in his mid-twenties get overly excited about opening Pokemon cards. I recalled the collection I had as a kid and wished I had learned to play the card game properly, and more importantly, wished I didn’t trash or donate all the cards.

I talked to my boyfriend a few days later and I asked if he had ever played the card game. He said he did. We sat on his bedroom floor for hours and went through the bulk of his collection. I was amazed. There was a whole new world opening its doors for me to discover.

A week later, I found myself on a Target run. I wandered to the toy section for a brief moment, just to get one little thing. A pack of Pokemon cards. I bought a pack of the most recent set at the time - Sun and Moon Base Set. I opened the pack as soon as I got to my car. To my luck, within the 10 cards in the pack, I found a Full Art Espeon-GX. GX cards are special Pokemon cards that typically have higher HP (health) and 2 attacks. Each GX Pokemon also has a GX attack, which can only be used once per game. They could also have an ability, which allows more interaction between players to interact with each other.

From that moment, I was hooked. I sent a picture of the card to my boyfriend and asked if it looked like it was any good. He said it was. He was interested in getting back into the card game and asked if I would want to build a deck around my Espeon GX. I excitedly agreed.

My first ever deck revolved around two Psychic-type Pokemon - Espeon, an evolution of everyone’s favorite Eevee, and Garbodor, a literal pile of trash. Together, they worked to shut off the abilities of other Pokemon cards and hit for big damage.

It took some time to gain enough confidence to begin actually playing the game competitively. Once I started, though, there was no going back. Of course at first, I often lost to more experienced players. I took every loss as a lesson and analyzed what I did wrong and how I could fix it the next time.

It was also important for me to look at every win in a critical light. How could I have won easier? How could I have played differently? Did I simply get lucky?

As I improved my skills, I was better able to understand the different decks I was playing, as well as the decks my opponents were using. In doing so, I could better make a decision based on my opponent’s deck and their actions.

I found myself having the most fun I’ve had playing competitive games in years. Plus, I got to spend more time with my boyfriend, which is always time well spent. Some of my favorite memories of my boyfriend include late night deck building the night before a tournament.

Making changes to the deck you play is crucial. One card really can make a difference in winning or losing the game. Tool cards like Choice Band add extra damage. Fighting Fury Belt boosts HP. Field Blower gets rid of tool cards like the two previously mentioned. Increasing or decreasing the count of cards like those can really impact the way a deck functions.

Pokemon hasn’t just been an event my boyfriend and I do together. We have met some really awesome friends along the way. Once on a Saturday morning in the middle of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we met three people we continue to talk to and go to tournaments with today. Both me and my boyfriend and the friends we made that day traveled over an hour to get to the tournament, so the fact that we all went on that day and happened to start talking is seemingly a miracle. We began going to the weekly tournaments that our new friends went to and met even more people there. Our group chats are always lively and our texts consist of new ideas, rumors of new cards, friendly conversation, and of course banter.

Now, I’ve been playing Pokemon the Trading Card Game competitively for almost a year. I’ve been to tournaments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Just a few months ago, I placed 5th at a huge tournament in New Jersey. With that placement, I gained bragging rights and a free VIP ticket to a much larger tournament that will take place in August.

Through going to Pokemon tournaments, my boyfriend and I have made friends with people we would never have met otherwise. This summer, we will be traveling to both Virginia and Ohio for tournaments, where we will be given the opportunity to bond with the friends we have already made, and meet plenty of new people!

I am so very grateful for the opportunities I have had to be introduced to Pokemon the Trading Card Game. I am beyond thankful for the people that I have met and how welcoming the community can be. Pokemon has been more than just a hobby for just me and my boyfriend. It has become an important part of our lives, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/nintendoleavelucktoheaven/?hc_ref=ARRr6Taww_TOFspisVi8dGe3TV4APsHjE6s_Iue10snsVRKqTp7_KUmCEJkO7f1LbEM&fref=nf

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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Every Question You Have About The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Answered

The Stanley Cup is upon us and there are a few things you should know if you're tuning in for the first time.

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April is such a crazy time this year in the entertainment arena. With "March Madness" coming to a close, the Stanly Cup Playoffs beginning April 9th, "Game of Thrones" premiering its final season on Sunday, April 14th and "Avengers: End Game" premiering Friday, April 26, things are going to be insane all month long.

To kick things off, hockey fans everywhere are preparing for the Stanley Cup. Here are a few tips if you have no idea what the Stanley Cup is to make you look like you know exactly what you are talking about (even if you don't know anything about hockey in the first place).

1. What even is hockey, anyways?

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Hockey is a sport that is played against two teams on the ice. The players wear skates, use ice hockey sticks and play with a rubber disc called a puck. The objective of the game is to score on the opponent's goal. The game itself can be very fast paced, physical and it's very popular in the United States, Canada, Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.

2. Why do people care about the NHL?

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It is widely thought that the NHL (in North America) is the most admired hockey league in the world. As of right now, there are currently 31 teams in the NHL both from the U.S. and Canada.

3. What is the Stanley Cup?

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The Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley of Preston who was the 1892 Governor General of Canada. The shiny silver cup was purchased by him in London and he then donated it to award the top amateur hockey club located in Canada. The first winner of the Stanley Cup in 1893, was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (or MAAA). The cup has an escort (currently Philip Pritchard), who always accompanies it. The poor cup has seen its fair share of horror, including being urinated in by the New York Rangers.

4. So how do the Stanley Cup Playoffs work?

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Well, the Stanley Cup Playoffs usually begin the first few weeks of April and can go into the first week of June (depending on how fast each team makes it thru the four rounds of best-of-seven series.) There are eight teams from each of the two conferences and are in the tournament depending on how well they did during the regular season. Whoever wins the cup gets the claim to the trophy for the year.

5. What happens if a team wins?

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It's a really big deal to win the Stanley Cup. Basically, it's just a ton of bragging rights and being able to say that your team worked really hard to get there. Imagine working so hard to get that big promotion at work and you get it. It's a wonderful feeling but if you don't get it, well there can be some tears (and let me tell you it can be very sad watching hockey players cry.)

6. Who were last year's Stanley Cup winners?

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The defending champs, the Washington Capitals, are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. Winning for the first time in franchise history, the Capitals hope to make a Stanley Cup Final appearance and win again. Since I was six years old, I have been the biggest Capitals fan so being able to be in Washington D.C. and watch them win was one of the best moments in my life (I am hoping for a repeat... but this year there are some really awesome teams.)

7. Who is predicted to win?

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Coming in hot with the most wins for the regular season and the team I have been calling to win since their loss to the Washinton Capitals during the third round of the playoffs last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning led by Steven Stamkos are the big favorites to win this year. Both the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights are close contenders. I'm calling it now, though. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.

8. Are there any underdogs?

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Out of all the teams (besides the Washington Capitals of course), I was really hoping to see the Carolina Hurricanes go to the playoffs. This team, who have become famous this year for their post-game celebrations, have really stepped it up. The last time this team made a playoff run was in 2009. It's really great to see a team who isn't normally in the playoffs competing. Although I can't wish them luck as they are playing against the Capitals in the first round, I hope to see them play next year.

9. So who should I talk about to make it sound like I actually watch hockey?

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Whenever I talk about hockey, people seem to like to quiz me on players to see if I really know hockey. A few players you should mention to people if they bring the Stanley Cup are as follows. Right Winger on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nikita Kucherov, is on fire this season with 87 assists. I hate to be basic but Alex Ovechkin and the reason for him is that he is sitting at 51 goals, making this his eighth season to obtain 50+ goals a season.

Brad Marchand is a huge fighter, but the Boston Bruins would be lost without him. If you really want to piss a New York Islanders fan off, you just need to mention John Tavares name. Lastly, Brent Burns is one of the best defensemen and plays for the San Jose Sharks. He's got some pretty great locks of hair and a big toothy smile but he can play hockey like no other. Of course, there are so many other talented great players this playoff run, but these are just a few you could mention.

10.  I heard there are a lot of fights in hockey ... do you think I'll see one?

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Yes, fights happen in hockey all the time but especially during the playoffs. Tensions are high, but so are penalties. Tensions are especially high when a team is playing game four and if they don't win they are done. I have seen some pretty nasty fights break out during the playoffs and it's not pretty especially when it involves fans. Be prepared to see some fights break out and would not be surprised to see if Tom Wilson gets suspended again as he does every year (for no good reason) during the playoffs.

11. Why does the Stanley Cup Playoffs affect me?

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs are way more fun than a lot of other sports playoffs in my opinion. I saw this first-hand when the Washington Capitals won and how the whole city of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland came together (yes we see you bandwagon fans). It's a sport that's fast, exciting and brings people together.

May the best team win.

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