To Be the Very Best, There Ever Was

Pokemon GO, how do you really categorize it? Is this a gaming post? Is this a wellness post? Is this a lament at my poor dietary choices this weekend, or my terrible social skills? Exaltation for triumph over gyms, social anxiety and small woodland creatures?

All of it.

Even in the height of Pokemon GO, I was pretty casual. If I had to reach the last few points of my step goal at the end of the day, I had a loop back home, before I moved to Toronto with a few Pokestops. I’d take my boyfriend’s phone just in case something fun popped up. The boyfriend and I would have days where we’d walk down by the lake and the docks together, playing in between other things we were doing.

When I moved to Toronto, it was a nice distraction on my walk up to my bus stop, or back home, considering I lived in the bustling downtown core, and people are strange down there. I could play on my way to the train station when going home, or waiting for transfers, but I never really left the house setting out to play.

I don’t have a Charizard (see Charmeleon above), or a Gyarados. I’ve never seen a Mewtwo. I got my first legendary from a completed field research stamp card, and I have no concept of what shiny Pokemon are, just I heard people talking about them. I gained 100k exp in two days, which is more than I’ve done in a year, I open the app so infrequently. However, I do have a lot of fun playing it, and this weekend I was introduced to how fun it could be.

After breakfast with a friend Saturday morning, it was the usual quandary of what to do, and the weather was just too inviting. I made the tentative suggestion of roaming and playing Pokemon GO, and it was met incredibly favourably, so off we went. Turns out, said friend is quite seasoned, and knew of a few great locations to roam around.

Because I play so casually, gym and raids aren’t something I really had a chance to participate in. I’ve done a few gym battles, but nothing extraordinary, and being what’s considering a lower level, my little friends don’t stand very long in a gym if I try to defend. Once raids were explained to me, I mostly just laughed and figured it wasn’t something I’d be able to participate in, until a legendary raid popped up near us. They wanted the Pokemon, so I tentatively followed, being assured the whole way there that it would be fine, and there would be others that we could join.

Oh my lanta, were there ever other people. As we walked up, we were approached. The group at the gym are in a WhatsApp raid group together(that I’ve since joined), and they all roam the area, raiding together. I was shortly abandoned by my friend, as we’re not on the same team, and they had to join their people. I sheepishly announced to my team that it was my first raid, and much to my surprise, I was immediately flanked by smiling faces, eager to coach me through my first raid.

We defeated the boss, Kyogre, with relative ease, as Team Mystic had quite a large representation (which I’m told, is common). Then, it came time to attempt to catch the boss, which again, I had no idea what I was doing and needed to be coached through. I was shown my golden berries, and a strategy as explained. I mostly just laughed and shrugged, as my catch rate for normal Pokemon is abysmal.


Turns out my catch rate isn’t as abysmal as I thought.

So, I still have no idea what a shiny is, or have any hope at defeating or defending a gym on my own, but I now have new friends, and arguably, a little more hope for humanity. It was an absolute pleasure to feel so invited and welcomed among strangers. While I didn’t raid on Sunday, I did wander in the same area, and ran into some of the people I had met the day before. Everyone was all smiles and waves, which is such a lovely change to the usual cold front you can feel in Toronto sometimes.

I know a lot of people out there like to pretend they’ve never played, but we all know you have. I encourage you to jump back in, especially if it’s been a while. You never know what you might catch, or who you might meet!

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