I’ve been married to a sports card collector for nearly twenty years and I’ve never understood the desire to collect cards. Honestly, I see sports cards as glorified pieces of cardboard and nothing more.
I could tell you how sports cards are what got me a diamond engagement ring in 1997. And I could also be forced to admit that the insurance settlement from my husband’s collection following our house fire in 2004 helped buy us a mini van for our growing family.
But to me, collecting sports cards was a hobby that took my husband away from me and our kids when he went to shows. And the weekends and evenings when he spent driving around on wild goose chases to look at other people’s collections or garage sale-ing for “hidden treasures”.
It also created piles of ugly monster boxes in my basement. PILES!
We had little kids. Couldn’t they be his new hobby?
And how can one piece of glorified cardboard be worth half a penny and the next one worth half a K?!
It just didn’t make sense to me!
And when it comes to sports, I’d much rather play than watch. And collecting cards seems to me to be about 8 feet below watching sports.
So how did it come about that this once annoyed sports card collector’s wife reluctantly change her mind about cards?
Here’s my rationale:
1. Athletes are inspiring!
I attended a card show this past weekend with the sole purpose of interviewing a few of the collectors who had set up to sell their cards and memorabilia.
It wasn’t my first card show, but it was the first show where I’ve talked to other people. Most collectors started out in the hobby when someone gave them their first pack of cards. Listening to their stories stirred up memories of when I was a child. I’m not sure if I had my own cards, but my brother did and he watched the NHL games like it was the best TV on earth!
Now that I’m a mom, I’d much rather have my kids watch hockey on TV and collect and trade cards with other people than spend hours in front of a computer screen. The fact that childhood obesity is rising along with fewer kids involved in playing recreational sports is alarming.
The Telegraph, an online newspaper from the UK, reports that one in four kids now thinks that playing computer games counts as “exercise.”
I realize that watching sports on TV isn’t the same as participating. But didn’t you feel inspired to get more active as you watched the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang? I know I sure did!
Action is often preceded by inspiration. And athletes inspire all of us!
2. Hometown NHL Favourites
This was also the first card show I’d been to where I’d paid attention to what people had on their tables.
I’ve lived in Manitoba my whole entire life and I moved to Winnipeg over 20 years ago. I’ve been a half-hearted Winnipeg Jets fan my whole life. By that I mean I’ve owned several Winnipeg Jets t-shirts, I know who Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne are, and I would always say that I cheer for the Jets.
How’s that for a pathetic Jets fan?
Oh, and I also know most of the names of the current Jets players. That’s what you get when you live with a Winnipeg-born-and-raised hockey fan and two hockey-crazy teenage boys.
My point is that nearly everyone who lives in Winnipeg, almost everyone who lives in Manitoba, and a lot of people who live in the bordering provinces of Saskatchewan and north-western Ontario are big Jets fans.
And pretty much everyone at the card show displayed an amazing array of past and present Winnipeg Jets players cards. There were several Jets jerseys worn in the gym and most collectors who came were passionate about their Winnipeg Jets team.
For some reason, this made me very, very happy. In a world where we frequently hear and even experience bad news, criticism, and backstabbing, I had found myself in a place where people had come together peacefully to revel in a common interest.
I thought of the Bell MTS arena where the Winnipeg Jets play their home games. I know about the Winnipeg White Out even if I haven’t yet experienced it myself.
And I remembered how excited even I felt back on May 31, 2011 when Winnipeg found out we were officially getting “our team” back. The energy throughout the city was electric!
There seems to be no better time in history than now where we should celebrate the small things – like our common adoration of our hometown hockey team.
3. It’s all in the details!
I am a detail person. If you and I were having a conversation about a certain hockey player, I would want to know:
- the correct spelling of his name, both first and last;
- what position he played;
- his height and weight (for some reason this fascinates me);
- which other teams he’s played for;
- and other stuff like that that you can usually find on the back of a sports card!
Doesn’t that beat pulling out your phone and looking for information that may or may not be correct on Wikipedia? I think so.
4. It’s a family thing
After the card show was over, my kids and I stayed for the after party. I sat beside my 9-year-old son and helped him as he played Pack Wars for two hours.
What exactly is Pack Wars? I now have a whole other post about that, but for now I can tell you that we opened approximately 14 packs of cards for four different sessions of Pack Wars. The organizer of the event asked us questions which we answered by shuffling as quickly as we could through our cards.
Nearby, my older children had their own cards to work from. Together, the six of us won several prizes including this Joe Sakic card and this Patrik Laine card.
Let’s just say that it doesn’t happen very often that all of my five children will be hanging out together in the same room for two hours without someone screaming or getting hurt.
Moral of the story:
- we opened packs of cards which was seriously fun, especially when my husband saw the autographed Barry Sanders card my daughter found in one of her football packs.
- we spent time together playing a game that was not in front of a screen.
- we had a lot of fun at Pack Wars!
So these four reasons are what have inspired me to collect cards. Now the next step of my journey is to decide what I will collect.
Will I collect a set? A team? A player?
Will I collect autographs? Or jersey cards?
I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll end up choosing but you can bet your bottom dollar that I won’t be collecting enough to make a pile of monster boxes in my basement.
Part 2 is now up. Check it out here!