Poke-Mom Report: Pokemania super-effective against holiday boredom!
My improbable conversion to a Poke-Mom was foretold a decade ago, when both Pokemon and our son Michael were born. My conversion was completed the week after Christmas 2006, following full immersion in the music, color and magic of the four-day holiday Pokemon tournament led by Eli, a near god in the eyes of Poke-moms, dads and kids.
Eli was managing library technology, while acting as tournament commentator for crowds of kids and parents at the downtown library: “Rayquaza’s Hyper Beam attack was a powerful hit against Swampert . . . Ohhhhhh! Swampert fainted!” Eli’s dramatic, deep-voice Poke-narration sealed my status as a Poke-mom of Great Conviction. I wasn’t there for the whole tournament, but I definitely saw and heard enough to absorb the spirit. For my full report, click on read more below.
Day 1 (Pokemon characters power 1-100): I drove four fifth-grade boys to the library, arriving as Eli urged everyone to the big screen. The boys’ eyeballs grew very big as the first image of the Cave Arena was projected larger-than fantasy, and the familiar (occasionally annoying at home, but not here) Pokemon music played. The kids competed, seated eagerly on either side of Eli, thumbing and strategizing their way through game after game. In the end our son Michael and his Poke-pals were defeated - by a girl! - but they definitely wanted to come back the next day.
Day 2 (Power 50 and over): My social cable connected to a visiting Illinois Poke-mom who was there with her third-grade son. “I can’t believe I found somewhere to spend the whole afternoon!” she said. She didn’t think her home library offered such a tournament. I also met an Ann Arbor Poke-mom-wanna-be, who arrived looking baffled, then wistful, as her son headed off to play. “I guess I’m going to have to get rid of Thomas the Tank Engine,” she said.
Day 3 - (Power 50 and under): Pikachu smiles lit Michael’s face as he started to win battles. He was perfectly content before that, but the jolt of winning was certainly a bonus. “I sent out five seals and one Dewgong (sea-lion Pokemon),“ he told me later. “I only won because of S heer Cold. It basically never goes two times in a row -- but mine did!“ I tried to be a proud, calm Poke-Mom, with the benefit of coaching by Poke-Dad (also sports coach) John Spisak, who said Poke-winning and losing didn’t much matter -- the kids were just playing, having fun, making friends.
Today I also worried briefly that instead of enjoying these low-light scenes, admiring Mew bouncing on his tail on an invisible air cushion and Wailord and that awesome waterfall (How did they DO that?), maybe I should be home reading. Then I remembered that I could read later, and Michael and I were both having such fun as holiday Pokemaniacs!
Day 4 (Power 25 and under) - As Eli tirelessly directed games, admired strategy, and commented on characters (all the while guiding his four-year-old son Nemo to battle admirably), I felt personally and profoundly grateful. In fact I was one of several moms who wondered aloud how to raise their sons to be just like Eli. He was the hyper beam that delivered an extraordinarily valuable cultural video experience to a grateful audience that enjoyed every precious Poke-second. Clearly he loved this scene, and it loved him right back.