When I was 11, my family and I went on holiday in Italy. One day, we were exploring the local stores and lo and behold, I found this exact box in the toy section:
Inside was this spin top you had to assemble, with a base, a weight disk, and an attack disk with which it could go against other “beyblades.”
The top disk had an empty spot in the middle in which you could place a small chip with a beast on it. This was the “bit beast,” the spirit of the beyblade.
I spent most of the remaining holiday launching it on our tiled hotel room floor, much to the annoyance of my ever-patient parents.
A few months later, I turned on the TV after lunch and saw this:
Beyblade was first broadcast in Germany in 2003 and became an instant phenomenon.
I instantly remembered Ultimate Frostic Dranzer, pulled out the box and the next day at school, I was the king of cool.
‘Whoaaaa, where did you get that? Now I need one!’
It happened to be a rare one too, I never saw it again in any other store. Then, Beyblade mania broke out. Over the summer, me and my boys collected tons of them.
We nagged our parents into driving miles to huge toy stores so we could buy proper launchers.
We all had our own bey stadiums.
I spent hours upon hours alone in my room, listening to the soundtrack, trying to figure out the best launch tactic, which blade does best against which and tweaking my strategy.
The whole thing was a blast. Not because I was the first to know, but because whenever you’re early in a movement, the role you play feels bigger.
That summer, once we all saw how huge the hype was becoming, we all felt larger than life.
For any 11-year old, I think that’s an important experience to make.
It builds your confidence. It gives you something to believe in. It allows you to believe in yourself. What’s more, it’s another set of memories you can always return to and you’ll get that feeling again.
I’m not even remotely comfortable, nor qualified to give parenting advice, but when I have kids, I know where I’ll start looking: my childhood. This is something my parents did tremendously well.
Even when I wanted to be a part of something they didn’t understand, they let me.
So if you have kids and one day they’re obsessed about Snapchat or Zelda or fidget spinners, don’t rob them of the chance to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Instead, look back at your own childhood. What’s that experience for you? Where can you find it? What does it still have to give you after all these years?
Now excuse me, but I think I’ll go watch some Beyblade.
Then it might be worth recommending. Hit the heart so someone else on Medium will find the magic of beyblades. 💚