For a 6 day period starting on the 22nd of February, I was the top-ranked competitive Pokemon Go player in the country!

Competitive Pokemon Go is a very niche hobby. For reference, the Pokemon Go Leeds Facebook Page currently has nearly 5,400 followers, but when we host tournaments we usually only get between 15-25 people attending. Other people who share my hobby around the country have the same problem, so we usually work together and travel the country helping each other out. Over the past 18 months, I've travelled from Leeds to places as far as Manchester, London and even Paris to play Pokemon Go tournaments. The last tournament I attended was one I co-hosted on 7th March, which people came to from places including Middlesborough, Worcester, North Wales, London, Cambridge and Glasgow.

Since the start of the social distancing guidance and subsequent "lockdown" these have been unable to happen. However, the makers of the game have since allowed us to play these tournaments remotely, removing geographical restrictions! Whilst there isn't the friendly atmosphere of meeting up in person and sharing a laugh, some food, and maybe a few drinks (most players are 21-35 in my experience), it has allowed us all to meet new people across the globe who share our passion, make new friends, and involve new people! In a strange sort of way, keeping us apart has brought us together!

- Matt, 25 years old

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