Thank you to everyone who voted for me in this competition.
When I joined e4 many moons ago, it went by a different name, there were only a handful of collectors here and I felt like I didn’t know a soul here (personally). The collectors on this forum in its infancy were in my opinion Titans, and I was a mere commoner who was trying to scrape by flipping Primes and Legend pieces for $0.50 profits at a time. Everyone that was on this site had massive collections, even back then. Cards I never heard of, connections I thought were impossible and stories that were unimaginable.
Overtime, by gleaning pearls of wisdom from “the Titans”, my collecting goals switched from quick returns on cards I didn’t care for, to carefully curated pieces that would spark joy–each and every time I look at them. I grew as an individual learning how to make meaningful connections and how to conduct myself in transactions ethically and professionally. No longer do I care about getting the upper-hand on point values in trades (do other people remember those early days of trading?!), instead I care about people, collecting, and the community as an entirety.
Like everyone, I have heaps of stories from this forum. A few ups and downs but I’ll try to not dig up the past. I joined 10 years ago. Still in high school, I had a lot of growing up to do, with big dreams and ambitions and not a lot of “worldly” knowledge. I used to entertain the trolls, post passive-aggressive remarks and quite frankly I was a bit immature at times. But, as Maya Angelou once said “When you know better, you do better”.
Once I hit university, I started really diving into the hobby. Finally I was engaging more in forum discussions, my Japanese classes were helping me navigate Y!J a bit more effectively and I was starting to forge some strong bonds with members on the forum --many are still active! I even had my first in-person meet-up with @reinasierpe and had a blast just talking about cards and the hobby.
University was a stressful time for me. My grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was struggling in a few courses and financially, I was caught up in some drama here that looking back on it now why did I bother. I was worried about the future. I didn’t know what my plans were, where I wanted to work and/or do for the rest of my life. Was I going to be successful? Rich? Liked?
Overtime, most of my worries have washed away. One of the most constant forces in my life (aside from friends and family) is Pokemon. It has always been here, and has helped me make some of my most pivotal decisions ever. (Why else would I choose to learn Japanese?!). After graduating, my dream was to go to Japan and see the world. I could finally acquire some of the “dream cards” that used to be exclusive “Titan territory” that were seemingly more attainable.
Though, this trip was a bit more unique than just an Indiana Jones treasure heist. I actually made it a point to visit Pokemon friends I had made on another forum, and made some fantastic memories with them. I don’t think I would’ve had the confidence to do something so outlandish if it wasn’t for the fact I had met up with Reina a few times before that. (Let’s all remember… 90s kid with internet safety being shoved in our faces from the time of its inception). On that trip I did manage to get a few wonderful cards both from the mythical Mandarake and from a collector.
Travel is magnificent too! I have found that the more I travel, the more I learn about myself and the world around me. Since the big trip I took after graduation… I’ve been to Japan two additional times, Worlds twice and to visit collectors more times than I can count. This forum has helped pull me out of my shell and embrace the community as an entirety.
Those “Titans” of the past, have become friends of the present. Those unattainable goals, have become fixtures of my collection. Those stories that were told, have become adventures planned and taken.
This forum is more than just a place where we come to shoot the shit and talk about the next price bubble (lol). It’s a place where like-minded individuals come together to share their most vulnerable selves, embrace their passions and showcase what is meaningful to them. It’s a constant place where friends (albeit some people are like family at this point!) can come together and share their love for pokemon!
As I stated before, my collecting habits have changed and I actually don’t consider myself to be a card collector anymore… In fact I’m a memory collector. When I look at my collection, I can pinpoint exact moments, exact people and exact emotions that each card has given me. I have cards from friends who were moving on to other adventures. I have cards from friends I’ve met IN PERSON at events such as Worlds. I have cards that would not have EVER made it into my collection without help from friends who were able to go to events I wasn’t able to.
I’d like everyone to think about your first moments on efour. What were they like? What were you nervous/excited about?
I’m glad to have experienced 10 f a n t a s t i c years of this forum. 10 years of crazy stories, amazing friendships and fond memories. I’m excited to experience at least another 10 more! Who knows what the future will hold, but this forum has provided a warm, inviting culture that has brought us all together for these sorts of moments. Though I’m sad we won’t have Worlds this year, I’m eagerly awaiting 2021 and all the other fun adventures along the way!
Special thanks to @milhouse for putting this together and to everyone that has contributed to making this forum such a special place!