Pokémon Cards & The Preservation of Childhood Pursuits!
Written by Kevin Donaldson
The place is Cleveland. The case is that of a 9-year-old boy named Bryce and his coveted Pokémon card binder that was stolen right out of his hands on the sidewalk. Devastated by the obvious rip-off, Bryce and his mother called the police believing they could help capture the perpetrator trying to catch them all. The cops ended up finding the binder, but, unfortunately, it was empty. In the eyes of Officer James Grotenrath, justice was not served, so the 26-year-old cop broke out his own childhood collection of Pokémon cards to give to the young Bryce. He would later go on to state to his local Fox news affiliate, “I grew up with Pokémon. I loved Pokémon as a kid and I would be heartbroken too if my cards were taken from me.”
It’s a great gesture by the young cop, but it also brings up an interesting phenomenon. Had the same thing happened to Officer Grotenrath when he was nine in the late-'90s, he would’ve definitely been left heartbroken. Cops back then not only wouldn’t really have a clue what Pokémon was or why cards are so special, partially since it was new at the time, but most adults back then didn’t hold onto their childhood hobbies or interests like they do now -- both physically and emotionally.
Today, more than ever, the generational gap between adults and children seems quite blurred in the realm of interests, and it’s been going on for a while now for good times and bad times. There’s no clearer case than back in 2011 with the extreme adult backlash for Pixar’s Cars 2. A lot of adult fans came out and said how they saw it as the decline of Pixar, and that the movie was completely insulting to them and their intelligence… Keep in mind really none of these movies are specifically meant for adults. It’s true that other Pixar films explore more adult themes, such as Up (love ending by death), Toy Story 3 (coming to terms with death), and Inside Out (letting go of your childhood), but at the end of the day, these are animated films made with children in mind as the primary audience.
Previous generations thought comic books were childish, and there was truth to that. Initially, superheroes like Batman and Spider-Man were meant to entertain children. In the '80s, a lot of comic books started a shift to darker territory (wait until you see The Killing Joke movie and see how some comics in the '80s make “Game of Thrones” look like “Sofia the First”), which also marks the childhood of the first generation to widely hold onto and embrace their childhood interests into adulthood. It could reflect why comic book movies are franchises now and have gotten pretty dark. Sure, Disney owns Marvel now, and kids can see those movies, but when you think about it, there’s really not much a child could find engaging to them when watching The Dark Knight trilogy.
There is good that comes from this too. Now more than ever, is it fun to be an adult, and that’s no joke. Think about some of our ancestors and what they were doing at your age. You would go up and ask some dock worker in the 1930s how he’s doing and he would have no idea how to answer. His life was work and making sure his family of six kids he started at 18 years old with his also way-too-young wife was doing fine. While he’s at work, his wife was home cooking, cleaning, and making sure six children weren’t killing themselves from sniffing lead paint. That’s not the case today, where you will find adults gathering in groups on Meetup.com to plan trips with complete strangers to visit Disney World together without any children. Today, adults want to have fun and get lost in fantasy, while still maintaining their big boy/girl jobs. There are adult coloring books today, for crying out loud... and they’re fuggin’ fun! I think I’ve made my case.
It’s a wonderful thing Officer Grotenrath did for the young Bryce by unselfishly gifting his Pokémon card collection (no joke, those are probably worth a small fortune today). It’s clear that none of this would’ve happened if Grotenrath weren’t a part of a generation that may forever be young at heart.
(If you don’t believe me that you may be sitting on a some serious cash with your old Pokémon cards, take a look at this eBay page dedicated solely to 1st Edition Holo Charizard cards; top hit right now is starting off at $699.00. Dust off your card binders, people!)