My first hobby was given to me by my father, who really didn’t know what he was getting me into. I got my first pack of Pokémon cards in 1999. At four years old, I had no idea what Pokémon was, or even what Japan was, yet I remember all the cards that were in that pack and have all of them today.

When I found out that there was a TV show on one of the five or six channels that we got in our living room I was hooked. Want to guess what my first video game was? Want to guess what the first birthday party theme I picked was? And when my dad went to Japan on a soccer trip, want to guess what he brought back?

Pokémon and I have a long and storied history together, one that’s never really ceased, although it did calm itself for a few years. But thanks to the newly-founded Pokémon club on campus, Pokémon has once again captured me and given me the drive to become a Pokémon Master and make some friends in the process.

During the summer, my mother, seeing my girlfriend and I playing the card game together, said something along the lines of, “when you guys stop playing Pokémon cards I’ll be sad, since you’ve done it for so long.” We were confused; why would we ever stop playing Pokémon? The possibility that I may not enjoy the game anymore ever had never occurred to me. Even when I have kids (relax, no immediate plans to have any) I look forward to showing them how to play so that we can all play together. While other families play Monopoly, and still others will go to the movies, my family will be battling and trading Pokémon.

So now that we’re all in college, we’re meant to learn the skills needed for our future careers and develop “adult skills” needed for “adult life.” Does this mean I have to sell all my Pokémon cards? Not a chance. I vividly remember, and you must believe me, that one of the reasons I looked forward to college as a middle-schooler was that I could find a group of people that I could trade Pokémon with.

This dream has become a reality thanks to our club on campus. Meeting on Saturdays this semester, and a bit of last semester, has been awesome. Seeing the faces (old and new) that show up to meetings week after week has been a blast, and in it I can see my circle growing on this campus.

Community is one of the main concepts we’re supposed to seek out as Christ-followers; what better way to do so then with a bunch of like-minded Pokéthusiasts? There are doors opened into relating with people that normally would have been closed without our shared interest. As one of my friends explained upon joining the club, at a basic level this is an opportunity for people who normally don’t get out much, as well as people who do, to socialize and find a niche that they are comfortable with. Where will the Pokémon club go from here? No idea. But I do know that wherever it does, our members will have a deck of Pokémon cards in one hand, and a friendly handshake in the other.