The Zephyr Team was lucky enough to meet the Piwek family at a local Pokémon event several years ago. Since meeting, the Piwek's have helped our team in so many ways. From sharing insight in to the Competitive Pokemon TCG world, to sharing feedback on the latest products and releases to showing us how powerfully Pokemon has positively impacted them as a family we're so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know them.
This family is one in a million, which is why we'll be sharing their stories, feedback and advice with our community. Our hope is that their perspective sheds light on the inspiring, motivating and challenging world of Pokémon TCG.
Our journey into Pokemon started 9 years ago, when I bought my daughter a plush bunny as a comfort toy for her first day of Kindergarten. I didn’t know at the time but this adorable little bunny I purchased was the Pokemon Buneary! This is where my daughter’s love for Pokemon began. I’ll never forget when she turned 10 she came downstairs with a bag packed and said “I’m really going to miss you guys, but I’m a Pokemon Trainer now!” fully expecting to take off on an adventure to “Catch em All”. It was pretty funny but also endearing to see how passionate she was about Pokemon.
Every time we were at the mall she would ask us to take her to the gaming store where she could see people playing in the back every time we passed by. Never having the time, we always said “next time”. Finally my husband reluctantly said he would take her and let her check it out. When she came home she told me about this Pokemon Trading Card game she wanted to play, it was every Sunday and she just had to go back. My son and I decided that we would take her and see what she was so excited about. We showed up at the store, not knowing anybody, we only had a handful of cards and no idea how to play this game. I was fully expecting to be bored out my mind, and after about a half hour or so we could go home and we wouldn’t hear about it again. Within minutes, a woman came over and asked us if we were new to the game. I told her our situation being brand new and she grabbed her husband and another player, sat down and explained the game to us and looked through our cards so we knew what was playable. They gave us cards and helped us build a deck. They made us feel like family. I had so much fun I didn’t realize that 4 hours had passed!
Our first experience with Pokemon changed our lives. We’ve been playing together for 4 years now and we’ve gone to league every Sunday since. The Pokemon community has been so welcoming and genuine. It’s a positive encouraging environment. My husband and I noticed immediate benefits from the game. My daughter’s social skills improved and both my kids were doing really well in math and reading. In order to play the game you need to be able to read and do simple math. Kids want to play the game and they teach themselves these skills through repetitive play without even realizing they’re learning.
We noticed right away that my son Jaxson had a natural talent for the card game, so we started playing Pokemon TCG competitively. We were fortunate enough that in August 2013 Vancouver was host for the Pokemon World Championships. Jaxson hadn’t been playing long enough to qualify for Worlds that year but he did enter as a Last Chance Qualifier contestant. Although he didn’t qualify that year, it was an amazing experience that has Jaxson on a mission to become the next World Champion!
Jaxson has earned 3 World Invites so far. In 2014 Washington DC as a Junior – placed 36th, 2015 Boston MA as a Junior – placed 96th and this year 2016 San Francisco as a Senior placing 44th in the World. Looking back at the past 4 years, I am so grateful for our first encounter with Pokemon. It has brought me and my children closer. We get to spend time together playing, laughing, learning and travelling all over Canada and the United States. Experiences and memories we get to share as a family. When someone says to me “it’s just a game”, I have to disagree. The benefits are immeasurable!
Shauna Piwek - PokeMom