By Gary Alan Ruse….
Palmetto Bay residents Juan Pablo and Andres Arenas, ages 9 and 11 respectively, had done so well previously at the 2010 Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) National Championship in Indianapolis, IN, in June that they both went to the World Championship in Kona, HI, on Aug. 13-15, with their parents, too, of course.
They returned in time for the start of school, and with impressive finishes in the international competition. Juan Pablo took a second place, beating the national champions of Switzerland and France and other world-class players as well. Andres placed 23rd out of the 128 players from all over the world, beating the national champions of Canada, United Kingdom and Norway.
“I was kind of nervous, but I enjoyed being there a lot,” said Juan Pablo, who received a $5,000 scholarship and other prizes. “It was really fun.”
His brother fully agreed with that viewpoint.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Andres said. “I was very happy. Probably what I enjoyed the most was the honor of being amongst so many talented players.
I liked the beaches in Hawaii, too. They were really beautiful. A few other tournaments are coming up and we’re probably going to participate in those.”
Roberto Arenas, the boys’ father, thought the experience overall was wonderful.
“We all enjoyed it very much, and when we were coming back the kids said it was their favorite vacation trip of their whole lives,” Arenas said. “They’ve done very well in the Florida and the national championships, but the big difference in this one was they had a chance to compete against kids from all over the world, and both of them had the chance to meet the national champions of many countries.
“Being able to knock down five national champs and a few top 10 worldwide kids is no easy feat, so I’m very proud of them both. When you get to be the runner-up in the world, it’s something Juan Pablo will remember the rest of his life. I’m very proud of them, and the confidence they have gained in this competition will help them in school and throughout their lives.”
Arenas’ wife, Gricelda, was very pleased as well.
“I’ve never seen Roberto so happy in the life we’ve shared together for 20 years,” Gricelda said. “He was very proud and very happy. I was very proud of both of my sons, too.
“One of the prizes Juan Pablo got was to be invited to be at the next championship in San Diego, and they’ll pay for the trip for him and one parent.
“The good thing about the Pokémon tournaments is that they’re held on Saturdays and Sundays and the world competitions are during summer vacation, so they don’t interfere with school,” Gricelda said.
Now they’re getting ready for future competitions and starting to save for the 2012 World Championships.
Pokémon, launched in Japan in 1996, is one of the most popular children’s entertainment properties in the world, with the game, animated TV series, home entertainment and an official website.
For more information visit online at www.pokemon.com/us/organized-play. If parents are interested in having their children join the local league, they may call Roberto Arenas at 305-790-6940.