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:
  • Balasar

    oh my god… my condolences go to his family.

  • nnaann

    Even though I didn’t know Adam, or anyone involved with him, this article still touched me. He sounds like an awesome guy, and my thoughts go out to everyone who was involved with his league, or knew him personally.

    • coolestman22

      Me too. You said that perfectly.

  • I had the honor of knowing Adam through Pokemon as well. While I was a TO and Judge in Colorado, Adam would come down for larger events like CO States as well as for Prereleases. Yes, he would load up his car with fellow players and make the 8 hour drive – in good weather, which is rare at States time frame – and come down. He loved the game that much. It was not unusual for him to drive all night after getting off work to make it to a 9 am registration time.

    I am deeply saddened to hear of his loss and the loss to his family and the Pokemon community. You have my deepest condolences.

  • He really sounds like the kind of people with the enthusiasm and heart we want to see in every activity. May he rest in peace.

  • Aaron Minjoot

    My deepest condolences. He truly was what everyone in the Pokemon world would hope to be blessed with in the community. May he rest in peace, and know that at the very least, his work and legacy lives on in the people he touched.

  • Ron Protze Jr.

    I had the Pleasure of knowing Adam through Pokemon as Wayne did. We always looked forward to the cool stuff he would bring down to trade after his long drives for our tournaments. He always seemed positive even when his car broke down in the mountains of Colorado and I gave him a ride to Denver.
    He will be missed here in the Pokemon Community!

    • David Klynsma

      Haha, I remember the instance of his car breaking down fondly. Allex (his younger brother) and I drove down to rescue him in Denver and his car in Aspen (I think it was Aspen). I remember him telling me that a friend gave him a ride, but I didn’t remember who. Thank you for the memory.

  • Ed

    Hey guys. Thanks for writing in with your comments. It really is a sad thing, and I feel a bit ashamed that it took me so long to publish this. I pray that Adam lives on in the hearts of Pokemon players everywhere.

  • David S

    I also knew Adam he was a friend in a mentor to me, may he RIP

  • Brock
    • David Klynsma

      This is the video Blake (Adam’s younger brother) and I made after his death. It was played during the funeral for all friends and family in attendance. Thank you for sharing it here.

  • Lucas Neely

    I met Adam a couple of times through a summer camp… I didnt know him overly well, but I admired and respected what I did know about him. He was a leader, a good friend and was always nice to everyone around him… I got to thinking about him again here recently because I lost another friend…a friend who had some similar qualities of being a leader and a good friend when you needed one and always willing to include anyone on what he was doing… its people like Adam that make the world a better place. Rest in peace Adam

    • Ed

      It’s nice to see people coming back here and paying their respects even after so much time has passed. Thanks Lucas.

  • David Klynsma

    Wow. Ed, through many tears, I want to personally thank you for writing this. It’s so emotionally gratifying to hear the stories and great memories that, people I have never met, have of my little brother. I hope no one ever forgets how great of a person he was. I admit that pokemon is something that I used to give him a hard time about, explaining that “it was for kids”. I regret all the hell I ever gave him over his passion. He was very lucky/wise to be apart of a community such as this. I can only dream of becoming half the man he was. I wish I would have found your post 3 years ago, but I am very happy to have found it by accident. I’m so glad he had a friend such as yourself and I just had to sign up for an account to thank you.

    • Ed

      Hey David! I’m glad to hear that this post I made was in any way a help to you. I’m pleased that you took the time to post your comments, because it gave me an opportunity to re-visit this page.

      Your comment came in while I was overseas in Hong Kong and Japan. It’s interesting, because in Tokyo I found that there is tons of this stuff that we Americans think is “for kids” or whatever. There, it seems like everyone is super into something. We consider it “geeky,” but to the Japanese it’s cool to be ultra focused on your “hobby.”

      I think it’s good to be unashamed about what you enjoy, and sometimes it takes people like Adam to show the rest of us that.