PokéLives Matter


Earlier this week, I posted a screenshot from PokémonGO! of my dog, Huxley, with a Poliwag, on Facebook. Hux was thrilled, tongue out, basically smiling. My older brother commented on my post: “Of all the people in the world… SMDH.” For those of you not familiar with millennial shorthand, that is, ‘Shaking My Damn Head.’ Evidently he thought his younger sister was too mature, cool, or superior, to jump on the Pokemon bandwagon. But what he didn’t quite understand was my personal intrigue in the game.


Prior to this week I knew what Pokémon looked like, but I didn’t know how the game worked or what the goal was. To be honest, I still have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing besides throwing balls at little monsters. I don’t go to gyms, I don’t fight. I’m just a serial collector. But let me tell you what drew me in, aside from being a techoholic and needing to understand the hype.

The last few years, worldwide, have essentially been one tragic catastrophe after another. Within the last hour reports were revealed that a large truck mowed into at least 100 people at a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in France. Next week, hundreds more will lose their lives in another incident. Not to sound ominous, but I’m merely basing that statement on patterns.

Our world which has been divided up to this point, is united, to catch ’em all.

There is war, after war, after war. Racial wars. Religious wars. Political wars. There are shootings of innocent victims, those of authority and those who are citizens exercising their rights. People have forgotten we’re all human.

But despite all this tragedy, outrage, loss and pain; within one week a mobile application overcame divisions of race, religion, political opinions, levels of authority. Our world which has been divided up to this point, is united, to catch ’em all.

Please don’t take this as me discounting the severity of the times we live in.

It’s really a technological and sociological phenomenon. I’ve downloaded the app and I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes. I spoke with people I would have never met. I crossed paths with people I may have assumed I had nothing in common with. I laughed with friends, coworkers and strangers alike. At Pokéstops like the Santa Monica pier and Downtown Disney, thousands of players from every background, age and social status are united. People are sharing tips. They’re offering help. They’re forming relationships. The angst that exists pertaining to everything in the media lately is reduced to a distant memory, even if only for moments.

I’m not typically the type to jump on hype when it comes to entertainment. But in all honesty I think what PokémonGO has done for our sense of community is beautiful. So my friends and my family will laugh, they can’t believe I “fell” for it, I’m “obsessed”. I won’t even deny it. I’m obsessed with the change in demeanor that it has influenced.

On a side note, I’m not ignoring that there have been crimes related to the app. But I’m looking at the bigger picture; the feeling of energy, camaraderie, and excitement inspired by this silly little game. So tonight, I’m going to go home. I’m going to grab Huxley and we’re going to walk to every Pokéstop within Balboa Island. We’re gonna catch ‘em all. There will be no discrimination and there will be no violence, there will just be Ponytas and Pidgeys galore. I hope to see you guys out there. Peace!

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