Growing up: Time to let go

Growing+up%3A+Time+to+let+go

Daniel Tan

Using his Gadget deck, sophomore Calvin Wei plays the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game during lunch on Feb. 27. He’s stopped twice since starting in elementary school, but Wei’s interest in the game has not disappeared — though the reason why he is still interested is different now. Photo by Daniel Tan.
Using his Gadget deck, sophomore Calvin Wei plays the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game during lunch on Feb. 27. He’s stopped twice since starting in elementary school, but Wei’s interest in the game has not disappeared — though the reason why he is still interested is different now. Photo by Daniel Tan.
Place a card face down. Throw a colored Gadget card face-up onto his playing mat. Add a different-colored Gadget from the deck to the hand. End the turn.

It’s sophomore Calvin Wei’s standard first move when he plays the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. And though he might’ve only started using the move recently, it’s been eight years since he first started playing the game.

That was back when he used to watch the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime on television, the original reason he was interested in Yu-Gi-Oh!. “When you’re a kid, everything is dragons and stuff,” Wei said. “‘Oh dude, dragons are cool, explosions are cool.’ That’s what brought me to it.”

He no longer follows the anime like he used to, but he still plays the card game just as fervently.

Yu-Gi-Oh! quickly grew in popularity among Wei’s friends. One of the cards, “Jerry Beans Man”, even became a rallying point.

“When I was in elementary school, everyone was really into jelly beans,” Wei said. “One day, someone got a ‘Jerry Beans Man’, and it became the mascot of our group. We made songs about it and stuff, and it was really epic.”

By middle school, collective interest in Yu-Gi-Oh! waned, like that of other childhood interests.

“At that point, it stopped being cool,” Wei said. “After it stopped being cool, everyone was like, ‘Oh guys we all gotta play Bakugan or whatever.’”

He felt pressured to stop playing, so he did.

Though Wei’s connection with Yu-Gi-Oh! was put on the backburner, it soon came back. After watching an episode of the anime on YouTube, he decided to resume playing the card game. But he was forced to quit again, this time due to the amount of time he had to spend at school and on homework.

“I was running out of time,” he said. “I didn’t have the time to commit [to it].”

Shifting priorities and interests

Similar to Wei, sophomore John Hsiao was pressured into no longer doing one of his childhood activities, watching Sunday morning cartoons. But his type of pressure was different. His parents didn’t want him watching them and using the computer to chat with friends online at the same time.

In the end, Hsiao chose the computer over the television.

“I had the mindset [to watch the shows later],” Hsiao said, but never found the time to. He subsequently lost connection with his once-favorite shows.

Trade-offs occur frequently among students who have to choose one activity over another often, according to history and special education teacher Scott Victorine, especially at an academically-intense school like MVHS that forces students to grow up and make those decisions faster. According to him, that’s what’s supposed to eventually happen.

“The biggest thing about getting older is just that your interests change and your priorities change,” Victorine said. Between middle and high schools, he shifted his emphasis on being more social and hanging out with friends more often.

Victorine was not the only one who wanted his activities to be more social.

After quitting Yu-Gi-Oh! the second time, Wei once again returned to the game after finding a way to play with other Yu-Gi-Oh! players online. Five months ago, Wei even attended a regional tournament and met other local players.

Originally drawn in by the explosions and dragons, now he’s in Yu-Gi-Oh! for the social aspect. Because of that, it doesn’t seem like he will be ending his on-and-off childhood pastime of playing Yu-Gi-Oh! anytime soon.

“It’s about momentum,” he said.

And, for now, the card games won’t end until the momentum stops.