As the leaves change color and temperatures drop, many of us appreciate this time of year for the opportunity it presents us to look back with gratitude at the wonderful things that we have in our lives. Of course health, food, shelter, family and friends are among the most important, but somewhere down the list we also have this hobby which adds significantly to our lives.
The truth of the matter is that aside from eating, breathing, sleeping and the handling of various hygienic duties, there is little that I have done in my life longer than collect cards. After 40 years spent collecting sports cards and memorabilia, I have a lot of things for which I am thankful. Sure, the sale of a card here or there has been helpful and I get joy when I add something new to my collection, but I attempted to dig a bit deeper for this post and recall gratitude of greater consequence to me. At times it is difficult for me to separate my interest in sports history from my passion for collecting as the two have become somewhat intertwined. It is kind of a chicken-egg thing; one begets the other. So for this purpose I have treated them as one, and if I am being honest, when I become interested in a particular subject my next move is usually to see what cards I can find that represent it.
I am grateful for our hobby because:
- Great memories… It was through cards that I shared many of my most enjoyable moments with my father when I was young.
- Youthful card collecting had a joyful innocence. I had the joy of trading cards by flashlight in a tent while camping out in my buddy’s backyard as a kid.
- Cards can be educational. Reading card backs helped me to learn math when I was a kid.
- Selling cards taught me the basics of business when I was in high school.
- Collecting cards fueled my passion for sports history, which became the basis of my professional life.
- Unique experiences… I have fond memories of looking through stacks of 1969 Topps football with my young daughter, searching for cards with a pink background (her favorite color).
- A collection provides a place to retreat to when time away from the craziness of life is needed.
- The hobby has brought me into contact with many people that have become some of my most trusted friends.
- There is a distinct sense of accomplishment after completing a difficult set.
- The breadth of the card world has allowed my collection to evolve as my interests have changed over the years.
- Cards help to develop other interests. Because I initially had a desire to collect cards of Jackie Robinson and the members of the 1965 AFL All-Star Game boycott, I now have a greater understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.
- The financial aspect of collecting can be important. Selling cards helped pay for my wedding.
- Research skills can be enhanced by efforts to learn about specific cards and memorabilia.
- Sharing a card from my collection on Facebook led me to start a Pro Football Hall of Fame campaign.
- Ongoing debates… Two of my high school buddies and I text regularly about cards and still debate the trades we made nearly 30 years ago.
- The hobby is something that brings together people of many generations.
- There are countless ways to collect cards and none of them are wrong.
- You never know where the hobby will take you. My knowledge of collecting led me to a job with PSA which allows me to share my hobby passion and views with collectors around the world.