People Come to Pokémon Tournament in Nashville for the Friendships


Nashville’s Music City Convention Center is hosting the 2018 Pokémon World Championships this weekend.

Many attendees The Tennessee Star talked to came not so much for the competitions as much as they came for the friendship and the camaraderie they say they don’t necessarily have back home.

Take Zack Kelly, 14, who came all the way from Singapore.

“There’s a lot of people here for the same things I am. You see people here socializing with one another, whereas back home it’s hard for them to socialize. This is a place where I can feel included,” Kelly said.

“Just me, personally, I don’t really find many other people back home with the same hobbies, but here everyone is here for the same reason. This is a place for me to come and be around people who are into the same things I am into.”

Thousands of people showed up for this weekend’s event at the Music City Center. Back in Singapore, Kelly said he only knows 20 people who go to Pokémon tournaments.

Here, Kelly said he’s reconnecting with friends he’s made from Australia and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Kevin Fowler drove to Nashville from South Carolina to reconnect with his friends Andrew Russell and Lorenzo Johnson, both from New Jersey.

The three men said they met as part of an online gaming community, in a game called Final Fantasy.

“We’ve seen people of all ages here,” Russell said.

“We even saw an elderly man who was a tournament player.”

Zack Hollander, from Newport, Calif., came as a spectator.

The biggest news to come out of this event, he said — an announcement about an upcoming Pokémon movie.

As reported, Pokémon is a video game, card game, or other inventory of toys featuring certain Japanese cartoon characters.

More than 5,000 Pokémon players, supporters, and fans are expected to attend, according to a press release from the Pokémon Company International.

People from more than 35 countries are expected to attend, the press release went on to say.

According to, “Pokémon are creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild or alongside humans. For the most part, Pokémon do not speak except to utter their names. There are currently more than 700 creatures that inhabit the Pokémon universe,” the website said.

“Pokémon are raised and commanded by their owners (called Trainers). During their adventures Pokémon grow, level up, and become more experienced and even, on occasion, evolve into stronger Pokémon.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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