A recent Reddit post reminded fans that not every Starter Pokemon comes from a Pokemon professor. In the main series Pokemon games, players assume the role of a 10 year old trainer who receives a Starter Pokemon from a regional Pokemon professor that almost always conveniently lives in the same town where the new trainer lives. These professors offer players a choice between three Pokemon (a Water-type, a Grass-type, and a Fire-type) and usually tasks the player with collecting data on some sort of Pokemon phenomenon exclusive to that region. Another constant to the games is that the regional Pokemon professor's home town is small and remote and doesn't have a local gym headed by a gym leader.
A Redditor over on /r/FanTheories recently posted their theory about how trainers who don't live near a Pokemon professor get their first Pokemon. The "theory" posits that a lot of trainers get their first Pokemon from their local gym leader, which explains why each town tends to have Pokemon who specialize in a specific type of Pokemon.
While the post became unexpectedly popular on Reddit by picking up nearly 2,000 upvotes, it also wasn't technically a theory - it's established Pokemon lore. In Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, Wally heads to the Petalburg Gym to ask the gym leader Norman to help him catch his first Pokemon. With the player's help, Wally receives a Ralts and becomes the player's rival.0comments
The Pokemon anime also establishes that many trainers receive their first Pokemon from friends or family members, and can even befriend a wild Pokemon into joining them willingly. Even Detective Pikachu shows Tim attempting to capture his first Pokemon without going to a Pokemon professor, which ends up going incredibly poorly for Tim.
While the Pokemon games all start similarly, fans should remember that their characters are considered special...even in the context of the Pokemon world. While the main characters of Pokemon games usually end up saving the world and collecting hundreds of Pokemon, most Pokemon trainers only have one or two and end up hanging around a wooded trail all day, waiting to lose to a more experienced trainer as they grind to level up their Pokemon.