Adam Klynsma – Pokemon Master

by Ed ~ September 10th, 2012.

I really thought that I would be writing a Battle Roads tourney report this week, but I just can’t. I need to tell you about my friend, Adam. It’s been weighing on my heart. I meant to write this months ago, but I’ve been putting it off. I could make excuses about being busy, but it’s just my fault. I keep thinking about this, though, so I feel the need to put it out here.

I first met Adam around Christmas of 2009 when this site was in its infancy. Since then, I have been going to the Rapid City “South Side Pokémon League” about twice per year. I’m usually there for the 4th of July and again at Christmas time. The problem there is that both of those are holiday weekends, and there aren’t usually many league members around when we show up.

When I knew I’d be in Rapid City, I would usually email Adam to see when/where the league was taking place. From what I understand, Adam started the league in June of 2006, and it has been held in several locations since then, including the library, Hobbytown USA, First Chance Last Chance Games, and Who’s Game House. I wanted to be sure I knew where and when to show up and find out if there were any interesting formats (like 2-on-1 unlimited or old minus current) being played.

On May 25th of this year, I wrote such an email the day before I drove out to Rapid City. I didn’t get a response from Adam, but it was short notice. I had plenty of other things to do while we were out there, and, without his reply to remind me, Pokemon got put on the back burner for that trip.

On June 24th, I wrote to Adam again, telling him that we’d be around for our normal 4th of July trip. Petra (my second daughter) was just starting to play, and I thought his league would be a good environment for her. Again I didn’t hear back, but this time Ava, Petra, and I made it a priority to attend league. Well, we didn’t make it the top priority, because we showed up about halfway through the scheduled league time.

When we arrived, there were no Pokemon players around, but the guy that runs the shop told me that I just missed everyone. They had left, because there weren’t any players (which is kinda typical on the holiday weekends). I mentioned that I had emailed Adam a couple times without hearing anything back, and he said it’s because Adam died. Wow, what a shock.

Adam Klynsma (Black With Green) at 2011 Pokemon MN States

Adam Klynsma (Black With Green) at 2011 Pokemon MN States

I had known that Adam was a welder, and I found out that, one month before that first email in May, he died on the job. While working, a 1,600 pound 12-foot steel beam fell on him. This was just across the street from where my brother-in-law works, and he said he recalled hearing about a big incident (but hadn’t known that it was Adam).

I’d like to share with you guys a bit of Adam’s love for Pokemon. I’m definitely far from the best person to write this, as I didn’t know him as well as his friends in Rapid City. He was someone I knew just from our interactions at his league and the time he came to the the 2011 MN State championships, so some of this will be from what I know and others will be from others. First, here are a couple articles about the Rapid City league that he ran: “Pokemon enthusiasts show their hand in tournament play” and “Pokemon fun for all ages.” If anyone reading this has anything else to share, I would appreciate the chance to add it here (or in the comments).

What I knew of Adam, he was very dedicated to Pokemon. He religiously ran the Rapid City league showing up even when nobody else was around like in snowstorms (which I witnessed). He was an avid collector, and my impression was that he tried to complete every set that came out. I think he even ordered cards and supplies straight from Japan before they’d show up here. I remember at the 2011 MN state tourney, he had a whole bunch of deck boxes that he kept trading to card-selling Ed (who in turn sold them).

I spoke to him about his plans to attend a local anime convention. He described a Mewtwo costume that he said he was making from scratch. I later found this photograph of him in costume. In this article, his mother also talked about Adam’s desire to create things.

“I’m still in shock,” Linda Klynsma of her son’s death.

She said Adam’s metal working and sewing skills that allowed him to create elaborate costumes for his favorite gaming hobbies were talents that were apparent early in life. “As a young child, he loved to create, to do, to tear apart, to fix things,” she said.

“At Halloween time, he would create his own costumes,” she said, recalling the year he made an exact replica of the Star Wars character R2-D2 out of cardboard. “He was probably too big to be going trick-or-treating, but he so enjoyed making those costumes.”

He got his sewing skills, as well as his creativity, from his mom. “He gets a lot of that from me. I make elaborate quilts,” she said. “He was so creative that he’d make a costume without a pattern, just from a picture.”

Adam Klynsma will be buried Wednesday in one of those costumes, she said.

Today, while looking for some photographs, I found this video of Adam dressed as Mewtwo. His interview starts at 1:23.

The last time I saw him, my daughter and I both ended up winning a bunch of cards at his special league event. Each winner received half a box of cards that day, and I found out that Adam had personally purchased the cards just to give away at the event (and other upcoming events). This love for the game and desire to give of himself comes across in an article about Adam Klynsma posted on the funeral home’s site.

When asked why he sacrificed so much of his time and money for the Pokemon League he replied, “My love of the game and the kids who play it. It gives the kids something to do to keep them off the streets and away from alcohol and drugs.” He will be remembered for his love of metal working, Pokemon, Cosplay, SodakCon, and the SCA.

Category: History, League, Opinion, Team Matters | Tags: