Play a Supporter Card

In the Pokémon trading card game, Supporter cards breathe new life into your turn. They allow you to draw additional cards to battle with, swap unhelpful cards for better ones, or push back your opponent’s Pokémon to buy you some time.

When you look at the rules and conventions of Supporter cards, you might notice something interesting. First, you can only play one Supporter card per turn. Second, Supporter cards almost always support the trainer more so than the Pokémon. If you want to heal your little monsters or make them stronger, there are Item and Tool cards for that. Finally, Supporter cards always feature people in their artworks. They’re usually named after the characters in the anime and video games, who are “showing up” to help you out.

It’s just like real life, isn’t it? Support comes from people for people. You’ll never get an unlimited amount of it, but there’s almost always someone there to cheer you on and remind you that you are not alone. They might do nothing more than hand you a banana, say a few words, or pat you on the back, but often, that’s more than enough.

There is, however, one difference between the game and real life: In a match, you’ll have to play your Supporter cards in order to use them. In life, we rarely get to control the support we receive — but when it comes to giving it, we’re the ones holding the cards. All we have to do is play them, and the effect will be even more profound once it is felt by the recipient.

So go on. Play a Supporter card. Buy your friend’s book, drop by your spouse’s office, or leave a kind note on your kid’s desk. Just as with Pokémon cards, it rarely takes more than a bit of cardboard and imagination to make someone’s day.