They want to be the very best, like no one ever was.
For some, just that line alone will inspire them or their children to burst into the intro song for one of the biggest pop-culture phenomenons of the 1990s; Pokémon.
For those unfamiliar with Pokémon, the concept goes like this: There are a bunch of creatures with various elemental powers that people capture and then train in order to face one another in friendly battles. This is mimicked in the form of video games, cartoons and a card game.
Since that card game's debut, Pokémon has gone on to become, and still remains, one of the mostplayed card games in North America. Leagues have popped up all across the world and each year a world championship is held somewhere in the U.S. However, next year, for the first time ever, the Pokémon World Championship will be held in Vancouver.
For local players and league organizers, that's big news and now, with the 2012-2013 season having kicked off, players are hoping to do well enough in upcoming tournaments to make it to next year's championship.
"They're giving us an amazing opportunity by having it in Vancouver next year, the first time I think it's ever been outside of the U.S. and it's really exciting," said Surrey-resident Sandy More, one of the official organizers of leagues in the Lower Mainland designated by The Pokémon Company.
According to More, next year's world championships have inspired more people than ever to get involved with the game.
"I had 99 people come out to the last one and our usual tournaments are 50 or 60 people," she said.
"We had people come up from Seattle, a team from Victoria and so the dedication is amazing."
And while some may associate Pokémon with children, the fact is the majority of players are actually in the 16-plus category, with many in their mid-20s and beyond.
"A lot of these people are ones who got into Pokémon when it first came out (in 1996)," said More. "Now they're in university or have careers, but they still love and play the game."
According to the rules of the game, there are three divisions in which people are able to play: juniors for those aged 10 and under, seniors for anyone between 11 and 15 and masters for anyone over 16. In order to qualify for next year's world championships, players must reach a certain points threshold and the only way to obtain points is by playing in local and regional tournaments over the course of a season.
One of those players is Surrey resident Phil Materi, who, along with his children, will be gunning for an invitation to next year's big show.
Starting as just a parent taking his kids to local leagues and matches, Materi soon found himself getting drawn into the game.
"So my son started playing and I was just standing around for a couple of hours for the first few weeks and in that time a couple of the other parents started playing as well," recalled Materi.
"So that was basically the end of it for me because once I started playing I got hooked as well."
For Materi, the game is perfect for all ages as it can be as simple or as complex as the players want it to be.
"It's actually a very challenging game, a very addicting game and it's very strategic," he said.
"I love strategic games and it really makes you think, which is why I like it for the kids."
In addition, Materi also sees the game as useful for kids to hone valuable skills.
"It makes them think strategically, teaches them problem solving, math as well, so it really broadens their minds and gets them away from the TV," he said. "It also allows them to meet new people and so it really helps with the social aspect as well."
To try your hand at the game and to find a local league, go to www. pokemon.com.