It was a time of magic and true heroes, the memorable days in which I was a little kid playing Pokémon. My Game Boy Color was my best friend, and by the far the game it activated the most was Pokémon. All sorts of Pokémon, from Red and Blue all the way to the speckled translucent cartridge of Crystal. I must have been six or seven at the time this story took place. My game of choice was Yellow, and for a glorious season of aerial adrenaline, I had an unstoppable Pidgeot.

Something about the line was always awesome to me. At level 18, the feisty Pidgey would evolve into a legend packed into 66.1 pounds of strength. There was something cool about the sweeping arc of Pidgeotto’s red crest, its sharp expression, the angular marks beside its eyes. And its body was stout but so so solid. I remember looking at my luminous Base Set card one day and discovering a delightful nuance through the star on the corner—“It’s Pidgeotto instead of Pidgeot but it’s rare!”—and thus becoming even happier with my special treasure. Pidgeotto is a symbol of vitality in Kanto, and make no mistake, this hardy and persistent bird was my pal.

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So I got a Pidgey in Pokémon Yellow and for whatever reason decided to hardcore grind him for Brock’s gym. He eventually swept the team all by himself. This brought him to a higher level than the rest of my party, and afterward I didn’t feel like training the others. In fact, I didn’t want to train them. I had all I needed. From then on I never looked back. The routes of Kanto were blazed through a hurricane of feathers, all opposition fallen in the wake of a beaming little girl and her golden Pidgeotto, which soon enough became a Pidgeot.

For the rest of the gym challenge, I only used Pidgeot. Literally, I never used any other Pokémon. I grew accustomed to the glaring back sprite of my incredible avian standing tall at every battle, his markings almost masklike as he swept the team in one-shots almost every time. Even Sabrina’s Alakazam could barely touch him! He soloed the game in the biggest rush I’d ever had in my short life. Sure, I had other Pokémon, but they were for the sake of having a whole team. The ace, the mighty, the only was my Pidgeot.

Then came the day we blasted through Victory Road and made it to Lorelei. She totally wiped me! I couldn’t believe it. Pidgeot was almost the same level as her Pokémon, yet her lead froze him solid every time. I tried over and over again, but it was always done in one Ice Beam. It took no difficult route for Lorelei to sweep the rest of my team. They were all level 14 or something. This was it; the end of the line. Pilot and her amazing Pidgeot were stopped in their tracks by the first member of the Elite Four.

It was after being defeated another time that I realized I had been putting too much faith in my almighty Pidgeot. I’d spent so much time battling with him that I’d neglected to train my other Pokémon for their necessity in harder battles. I felt bad that I’d ignored them, and wished that they could all shine. They never did. In the days after accepting the hard lesson learned, I said goodbye to my team and restarted the game. This time around, I focused on training all of my Pokémon equally. There was another Pidgeot, but he wasn’t the infallible star. By the end of the game, the only party member stronger than my Pikachu was Hypno, whose sturdy Psychic typing gave me faith whenever he faced his pendulum to the opponent. We completed the run, and all was well. I had accepted this crucial Aesop about training, and it would forever benefit me as I grew up to explore and fight across the wonderful entirety of Pokémon World.

Of course, it wasn’t until battling Red in high school that I learned the value of type variety.