Wild Secrets — The wonderful world of Pokémon

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Photo curtesy of Abby LaForest

CATCH ‘EM ALL — My collection of Bulbasaur items, who is my favorite Pokémon, and the valuable Pokémon Topps “In the Pink” Series 3-Orange Islands card. Pokémon extends well beyond the card game, with films, video games and other collectibles for fans like me to enjoy.

Abby LaForest

Everybody has embarrassing moments they would like to undo and haunting memories that trigger the deepest cringe a human body can muster. We all have a cheeky guilty pleasure we would rather keep to ourselves.

Here, feast your eyes as your classmates spill their guilty pleasures, funny stories and embarrassing tales. This is Wild Secrets.

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Quite frankly, the wonderful world of Pokémon is a franchise that has kept my inner child alive and well since I began my studies at NMU. I have always had a collector’s personality, so the appeal of a franchise whose marketing is based on the tagline “Gotta catch ‘em all” was not lost on me when I first came across it. 

Some may consider it a “childish” guilty pleasure, but I think there is a joy that can be found within Pokémon’s immersive world of little creatures with spectacular powers. Rekindling the joys of childhood as a young adult is something that everyone should get a chance to find, and I am fortunate enough that I have found something that sparks that joy inside. 

I did not get into Pokémon as a child. I stumbled across it when I was 18, trying to find myself in the endless barrage of growth and change that comes with that age. I first bought a booster pack of cards and found such a thrill in ripping open the package, hoping for a rare holographic card, that I decided to keep buying packs and eventually built a collection of prized possessions. 

I think the most expensive card I own is a Pokémon Topps “In the Pink” Series Three Orange Islands. This card can be sold for around $300. But given the condition mine is in, I am not sure what its exact value is. 

I eventually branched out from not just card collecting, but the video games too. I received Pokémon Shield as a Christmas gift, and my eyes were opened to the world of the Galar region where I was able to catch, care for and battle various types of Pokémon to my heart’s content. 

I soon committed myself to learning everything I possibly could about the franchise, from the cards to the games, to the anime, and everything in between. I was able to teach myself to play the card game, and the stack of pre-built decks I keep in a drawer at my bedside is a testament to the time and skill I have dedicated to mastering it. 

My partner can still beat me most times, but honestly, just getting to play the game is half the fun. 

I have found the most valuable part of the Pokémon franchise to be the way it can help change the lives of those around them. I recently sent in a donation to a charity called Pokélanthropy, based in Bellflower, California, whose mission is to use Pokémon to help those in need. I was able to send a box of bulk cards that were taking up space at home, and they will repackage and donate them to children who may not have the means to get good-quality cards. 

Genuinely, that is the part about Pokémon that I love the most. It inspires people like me to be generous, kind and spark joy whenever we get the opportunity, because a franchise so beloved by its fans can only hope to spread that happiness to others who share similar passions. 

Joy is meant to be shared, and Pokémon has a way of spreading it to the far reaches of the world in ways I can only hope to do myself.

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