First off, thank yous and shout outs are in order for everyone that made it possible for me to participate in this year's Pokemon Video Game World Championships. Thanks to matamato, Carl, TTS, pookar, aldaron, tad38 and the rest of #smogon for supporting me through the tournament! Thanks to Fish and mysteryman for making it all the way out to San Diego to watch! Thanks to Carl, TTS, Fish, mysterman, and tad38 for the countless practice battles and advice that you gave me throughout the season. Last but not least, thanks to zerowing for making it all happen. Without you, I wouldn't have been as successful as I was. I know you were expecting me to win and I'm sorry I didn't, but it was still a damn fine run for us. Your teams are brilliant and I must say that I am a HUGE fan of scarf Aboma and ExpertBelt Slowking. I fucking love you, man. Now onward to San Diego! Wednesday Though most of the VGC finalists arrived in San Diego on Wednesday, I was sadly stuck in Davis, attending my classes like a good boy. Such is life, I suppose. Thursday The train used Screech! Defense down! This is where the fun starts. After another full day of classes, I made my two hour drive back home so I could pick up my parents and my brother. And thus begins the Excellent Adventure. We arrive in San Diego just as the sun was setting. While the plane was landing we caught a glorious sunset over the ocean and I could feel that it would be a good weekend. We pulled up to the Hilton at about 7 or 8 and we yelled to the cabbie "Yo homes smell you later!" After checking into the hotel and checking out the sweetass view: I decided to give mysteryman and zerowing a call to see what was going down that night. Mysteryman said that he would be back at the hotel after dinner and poor zerowing's tire blew on his way to SD so he was going to be late. Duy [my brother] and I wandered into the game room to check out the venue and needless to say it was quite breathtaking. After taking in the glorious sights and sounds of the 4th floor ballroom (where the resident Pokenerds would be spending their weekend) we ran into one, PokemonBattleBrain, fresh off the train, also admiring the nerdery that was occuring in the 4th floor ballroom (referred to as the Sapphire Lounge of PKMN HQ from here on out]. After chatting for a bit, we decided to head down to the lobby to meet up with mysteryman and Team Deustchland. I was awestruck by both their immense size and their ability to down two-liter bottles of soda in one breath (or so it seemed). While we got acquainted with each other and prepared for a friendly warm-up tournament, mysteryman called up OmegaDonut to see if he would be down with playing with us. After shooting down his suggestion of having 14 dudes playing Pokemon in the hot tub, I was quite surprised to see him show up. And so the practice tournament begins. I ran a team with Transform Smeargle (ala zerowing's fun zone aka Team SF) along with Relicanth, trying to set up double Relicanths for amazing HEAD SMASH POWER YEA! (it failed pretty badly). While losing to Honchkrow a number of Team Smogon appeared in the lobby, namely Professor mingot, imperfectluck, Pokemom44, NeoSyrex, and ultimatedra. We hung out for a bit and caught up with each other and played some Pokemon. Good shit, like always with the smogon crew. Soon after, I got a call from Fish and zerowing saying that they had just arrived in San Diego. After practicing with Vince (zerowing's apprentice as seen throughout the story) we rounded up a group of people to wander through the streets of San Diego to meet up with Grand Master zerowing. After traversing through the ghetto our fair little group (sixonesix, mattj, OmedaDonut, PBB, mysteryman, Duy, and myself) finally made it to their hotel. After getting trolled by Fish and zerowing (pretty badly I might add! Come on guys. Fire stairs?) we hung out for a while as OmegaDonut was trying to ninja his way through the hotel room and stole various amounts of things from their hotel room (he managed to get out with just a flower and a sewing kit) It was getting a little late so we headed back on the road to the hotel. We got caught behind a train for what seemed to be forever and made some Pokemon references along the way. And thus ended day 1 of the adventure. Friday This is gameday son! In it to win it. Quack quack quack! I got there especially early because I had late registration to do. After getting all of my registration stuff done, I wandered the venue with Duy, checking out stuff while waiting for everyone to show up. Close to 9, everyone began to shuffle into PKMN HQ. After filling out my info sheets and doing some trolling with zerowing and Fish, it was time to take our seats. After the opening ceremony, we got our battle pairings and I saw my first matchup. Chiaki Fukumori (JP). I was nervous as fuck going to my first match since Nationals. I had no idea what to expect. After winning my first match pretty handily, I failed to seal the deal during the second match because of same bad luck. Taking some wise advice that mysteryman gave me before the tournament, I pulled it out during the third match. Chiaki and I. Relieved that I had made it through the first round against a very skilled opponent, I moved onto my second match. I was paired with resident Smognite NestW. Again, taking it to 3 matches, I made it to the third round undefeated. After beating NestW. Round 3, however, was not so kind to me. I was matched against the Collector, slimceagirl and I had no idea what to expect. After winning the first match pretty handily, it was not a pretty sight the rest of the way through. I lost my first match of the day. After Round 3, they gave us a lunch break. My parents had ordered Chinese food for everyone there so we had a nice lunch (while Paul just made a huge ass mess on the table cause he can’t use a fork.) The fortune cookies gave me some wise advice – to forget what happened the last round and to keep my eye on my goal. Round 4, I was matched against another smogoner, Shoe. This match was very close and went right down to the wire. After losing the first match, I stole the next two in an improbable fashion, giving everyone that was watching the match a heart attack. After that win, I was left at 3-1 with one of the highest opponent’s win percentage, so I controlled my own future from here on out. If I win, I make Top 4. If I lose, I end up somewhere in the Top 8. My opponent, Tasuko Mano (2nd place overall) proved to be no easy task. I was caught off guard by his Pokemon and everything ended up getting destroyed. I did manage to take it to a third match, but that did not end well either. I ended up disappointing the team. It's a bromance thing. Nick the announcer hearing I didn't make Top 4. After watching the Top 4 matches and whatnot with TAY, sixonesix, mysteryman, and a host of other smogoners, my parents decided to take the group out to dinner. zerowing suggested Hooter’s so my parents obliged. Was it awkward with my parents and a bunch of Pokenerds hanging out at Hooter’s? Naw. That’s not how it is. We’re a damned close bunch of people. One of the girls in the party next to ours caught TAY and mysteryman on their DS’es playing Pokemon and turned around in disgust. Pft. What does she know? After parting ways with Fish and zerowing, the rest of the crew headed back out to the hotel. As we got back to the hotel, we found Alakapimp and mingot chillin at PKMN HQ. Duy and I joined then and after a multi battle with Alakapimp and mingot’s daughter and some fine trolling from Professor mingot (THAT’S HOW YOU ROCK A HAT), we decided to call it a night and turn in. Saturday Do you guys wanna play Mario and Luigi with me? Duy and I got downstairs pretty early and found zerowing and Fish waiting for Masuda’s autograph. Though we were there two hours early, it was still a good time. Soon after, mingot came down to chill with us while we did a MULTI BATTLE. This was the highlight battle of the weekend. Duy and I had the thing in hand until I decided it would be a good idea to Waterfall zerowing’s Moltres with Fish’s Gastrodon in play. “Gyarados used WATERFALL! Gastrodon’s STORM DRAIN DREW IN THE ATTACK!” Fuck. PAUL AND MASUDA. After dealing with a creeper dude for a while and getting our autographs, we went to hunt for Pokemon Sunday. Our results are as follows. Good times. Soon after, I went out with the family, came back to watch the finals and wandered over to play some Mario Party with Fish and zerowing where Duy and I pretty much rocked the entire game. We came back to watch the closing ceremonies. Afterwards, we gathered outside for some TEAM SMOGON PICTURES YEAH! I’m gonna miss all of you guys. Yeah. I know. We parted ways with smogon afterwards. Fish, zerowing, ad my family decided to wander over to Seaport Village to hang out for a bit. Oceanside bitches. We discovered that all food items at this one shop was 4 dollars after 7pm and just went to town on the food, feasting on the menu. Except Fish. Him and his provolone fries cause they ran out of cheese for cheese fries. Heh. We got back to the hotel around 9 and met up with TAY in the pool area. Talked to some juniors and all of a sudden, FIREWORKS! OUT OF NOWHERE! SURPRISE EXTRA CLOSING CEREMONY FOR POKEMONS? YEAH! We hung out for a bit and met up with OmegaDonut and mingot and talked for a long long while. Had some good laughs before we all had to say goodbye to each other. I’m gonna miss all of you guys. Duy and I walked zerowing and Fish out to the street to say our goodbyes. It’s safe to say that zerowing and Fish are the two people I’m closest to out of all these people that I met this summer. When it came time to handshakes, it turned to hugs. The hugs turned into me being carried across the street. And so ended the adventure that I had in San Diego. It was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in my life, and it was great to hang out with everyone. My only regret is that we only had one weekend to do it all. It was a short ride guys, but it was one hell of a ride. To Fish, zerowing, and mingot: I fucking love you guys. I mean it. Also MoP. No homo. Love the Dong. Batpig out.