the pokemon league
when one states they are becoming a pokemon trainer, what that means is that they're entering the pokemon league.
this technically refers to two things- formally, it's an organisation that oversees all official pokemon battles. informally, it tends to be referring to two specific types of pokemon battles: gym challenges and the champion challenge.
a global system
each region has it's own self-titled league. the specific mechanisms may differ from region to region- for example, alola's island challenges functioned as the same thing before a true gym league could be set up.
however, every region's league is interconnected. in order to participate, the trainer must be in ownership of a trainer card and pokemon trainer number- a service provided by the global database POKENET.
since all official gym activities are tracked by the trainer card, you can participate in multiple region's gym challenges- some particiularly dedicated make conquering it in all regions a personal challenge.
pokemon gyms are as the names suggest- a place for trainers to hone the strength of their pokemon.
each gym has a type speciality, and the environment in the gym reflects that. they are designed to be the most comfortable places for that type to exist in. any type is free to train there though, as long as they respect the environment around them.
a shoutout to the workers
within each gym there are multiple jobs- many are hired as mentors, security, cleaners, ect. however, none of these jobs are respected as much as the gym leader- the most powerful mentor in the gym.
the gym challenge
most prospective pokemon trainers will have one main goal- to get all of the gym badges. tbis is achieved by partaking in the gym challenge, where the trainer will fight 8 different gym leaders scattered across the region to prove themselves as a strong and capable trainer.
8 levels of pain
there are 8 levels to this, getting progressively more difficult as the level goes up. each gym leader has a different setup for each level- they will use different pokemon and moves to ensure that it's a similar difficulty regardless of which order the gym leaders are fought.
schedules and audiences
these are run on a schedule- you book your fight slot in advance, and show up at the allocated time. this timeline is published online- an audience can pay to attend. the higher level the fight, the more expensive and coveted the seats are.
the local industry (especially the hotel industry) always profits nicely from level 8 battles- since these are extremely rare and the stakes are high, many will flock to watch.
all good challenges have a good reward
defeating each gym will give the participant a gym badge- one digital, one physical. the physical badge is more of a trinket than anything, a cheap enamel pin that mostly serves as a leftover of pre-computer days. it makes for a nice keepsake, even if it has no real power anymore.
the digital one is the more important one- this is added to the pokemon trainer database, and is what stays on your record even if the physical badge is lost.
upon completion of the league
if a trainer does manage to beat all 8 levels of the gym challenge, what awaits is a good start to life- they may get some of the following alongside a certification added to their trainer profile:
- an impressive grant
- a scholarship into higher education
- a potential offer into a hard-to-access job sector
- potential fame
those who do not wish to take on the champions league often take up the scholarships and job offers. meanwhile, the grant keeps those who do want to try taking it on the ability to keep their lifestyle going while they train to be the region's best