THE INTERVIEW - AN EDUCATION
G2G: First, can you tell me your in-game Trainer name, level, and your favorite Pokémon? Is there a reason it is your favorite? Also, what do you do in your daily life?
SarahElise: My IGN is SarahElise because I’m apparently super uncreative, I am level 40, and my favorite Pokemon is Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur was my starter Pokemon when I first played Pokemon Red, and, indeed, you never forget your first. I love grass-type Pokemon in general, but Bulbasaur and his whole line will always hold a special place in my heart.
In my daily life, I have been a stay at home mom for the past almost 5 years to a lovely little girl who keeps me on my toes constantly, but will be reentering the workforce at the end of July as a middle school English teacher. I previously taught high school English, so this is a bit of a shift, but I’m very excited for the challenge.
G2G: What got you into Pokémon/Pokémon GO? Were you into Pokémon before GO was released? What do you like the most about Pokémon in general? Do you have a favorite feature in PoGO?
SarahElise: Prior to Pokemon GO, I had only ever played Red and Blue, so for me, the nostalgia factor was what got me to start playing Pokemon GO. I downloaded it the first day it was available and have played consistently ever since, though I was a much more casual player at the beginning. For me, while I love the game itself, the community is what has kept me playing GO for so long. First, my local community which came together on Community Days to play together as well as to raise money for local charities through raffles and then my online community, specifically GirlsThatPVP, who have been an incredible font of support.
G2G: What attracted to you the PvP Aspect of PoGO? Was it something you enjoyed in the main series games and carried over?
SarahElise: Someone in my local community, SaintShuckleYT, was the person who originally got me into PVP. He had previously enjoyed that aspect, and when Silph started their tournaments, he got all of our admins, myself included, on board with holding a Boulder Cup. The rest, as they say, is history. PVP not only spoke to my naturally competitive nature, but also gave me a way to use my brain that I’d been lacking as a stay at home mom. PVP, Silph specifically, gave me something to study and focus on and helped me to feel like me again instead of just a mom. I have competed in every single Cup since Boulder, though my card doesn’t reflect it since two of our local tournaments ended up not hitting 8 people.
G2G: Do you have any advice for young women who want to get into Battling or who have just started and are struggling to find their way?
SarahElise: My greatest piece of advice for any woman young or old who wants to get into Battling is to join the GirlsThatPVP server. That server is full of amazing women who go out of their way to support each other. They cheer each other on and empathize when someone is having a tough time. They stick up for each other when someone tries to tear one of their own down. They share their wisdom and insights, and there is usually always someone down to practice. It truly is a community that I am honored to belong to and help to run, and without it, I’m not sure if I would have stuck with PVP to the extent that I have.
G2G: Lastly, if you had to highlight the most positive Pokémon GO experience you have had so far, be it PvP, Community, etc. what would it be and why?
SarahElise: This is such a hard question because Pokemon GO has created so many positive experiences in my life. I’m going to be greedy and tell you about two, and you can cut one if you’d like.
One positive experience that stands out in my mind is my Season One Regional. Up until that point, I had only battled people in my local community, and I was both excited and extremely nervous when I got a Regionals invitation. I was worried that I was a big fish in a small pond and that I would get torn apart at the tournament. Luckily there were two others from my local community who got invitations, so we drove up together, and I knew I had that support. Competing in that tournament was just amazing. Every single battle that I did went to 3 games (which, for those of you who didn’t play season 1, wasn’t always compulsory. You only played game 3 if you were 1-1 at that point) and that alone helped me realize that maybe I was better at PVP than I thought. I didn’t win my Regional, but I left it with a 3-2 score and the determination to come back next season and do even better.
My second positive experience was finding the GirlsThatPVP movement on Twitter. Before I found GirlsThatPVP, I was one of only a few women that I knew who PVPed, and I was the female who took it the most seriously in my local community. I was very lucky to have an extremely supportive local community, but finding a group of women who valued PVP in the same way that I did was incredible for me. I joined their channels, which at the time were located on the server of a content creator, and then later helped create a dedicated GirlsThatPVP server, which I have been helping to run since the beginning. That server in and of itself is a positive experience, and it’s a space that I’m very protective of because I want every woman who joins to feel that it is a safe place to share her experiences, fears, joys, and hopes.
MENTOR TO U ALL
Sarah is an inspiration to all of us. She has two of the hardest jobs in the world, mother and teacher, yet she still finds the time and energy help lead both the Girls That PvP community, and the community at large. We here at G2G, hope you have enjoyed learning about her and how she came to be here as much as we did. Be sure to give Sarah a follow on Twitter, and check out the Girls That PvP Twitter as well!