Hey everyone, Drew back here. Sometimes, I wish I enjoyed this hobby with the same passion that I had in the beginning of my collecting "career". I rarely buy packs anymore because I simply lost faith in spending ridiculous amounts of hard earned dollars on useless cards. However, it's really nice to go back once in a while and recollect what it was like to be a 10 year old collector. I was recently given that opportunity by my good friend Ethan, who fell into and out of the hobby during our elementary school years. Ethan asked me if I wanted his entire card collection, because he knew I'd still be interested and he had no idea what to do with them. I gladly accepted his offer, and sure enough, he gave me a bag filled to the brim with cards that held great memories shortly after.
I spent that night picking through the stacks of mid 2000's greatness, reflecting on some of the cards I remembered him having. In 5th Grade, there were 2 lunch tables for each class; a typical rectangular table, and the round table. Sitting at the round table normally required rushing to lunch each day, due to it being so highly sought after and important. I had never seen more children cry about a table than I did with this round table. Anyway, eventually our teachers needed to stabilize the cafeteria atmosphere, so they allowed a certain 5 or 6 kids to eat on the 'cool table'. My friends and I got the table in the latter half of the school year, and we made good use of it. I introduced my best friend Mike to collecting cards, and from there we had every 5th grade boy involved in the hobby! Every day we would trade cards back and forth, holding more value in the players than of the card type. I remember a friend of mine trading a Jerome Bettis rookie card for a Peyton Manning base card, because Peyton was the man back then.
While picking through the cards, I remembered all sorts of small tidbits of 5th grade lunch. The Chien-Ming Wang base card laying deep within the pile acquired by Ethan for a Troy Tulowitzki rookie card. Boy, were we bad traders. I found the Boomer Esaison card that I so desperately sought after in 5th grade that Ethan would never let me trade for. Ethan didn't know much of anything about baseball or football, so he used our reactions to judge whether they were worth keeping or not. We all started elementary school with Yugi-Oh and Pokemon, but eventually grew up to sports cards.
Today, only a few of my friends are still interested in the card hobby. Mike loves making custom cards for TTM requests, and Schuyler loves digging through discount boxes for shiny cards that strike his interest. They never became obsessed with the hobby to the extent that I had, so it's still the simple things that make their days.
I, however, am too busy scanning these serial numbered cards separately, to entertain the collectors that prefer these "rare" cards over the usual. In 5th grade, we didn't even know what serial numbers were. And as for the 1964 Topps Dick Stuart, well; we cried over cards like that. At my first card show, I remember buying a 1969 Joe Niekro card for a few bucks because it would become the oldest card in my collection. I didn't even bring that card with me to school because it was that valuable to me. Joe Niekro was a decent pitcher, but today I laugh at the fact that I thought that highly of the card.
We didn't think much of relics back then either, as you can tell by the large crease going across this Joey Porter card. We knew that the materials were from games, but honestly, we didn't care at all. Today, collectors search through packs just to find these cards, and perhaps sell them on eBay.
It's crazy to think that at one point things as simple as this were that important to me. I've grown up quite a bit since my early days in the hobby, and all it took was a simple google search of "baseball cards" to completely shift my interests into the industry that's more of a business than a hobby. It's absurd that I've had this blog for well over 4 years, and how much my collection has grown in terms of value. I can't even imagine myself having any other hobby at this point, although there are a lot of aspects I don't really like about our hobby today. But whenever I have negative thoughts about the hobby, I'm going to pull out this bag and reminisce; and I'll remember how this hobby has stuck with me longer than most friends and all other things. One of the first things I was told as a young collector is that no matter what you go through in your life, even if you have to stop collecting at any point, the hobby will always welcome you back.
Thanks Ethan for reminding me why I do what I do.