Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why sports - and blogging about sports cards - is important

We are not in a very good time. Racism, xenophobia and all around hatred is en vogue. I'm not sure if it's worse than before or just more open- but I've never seen it this bad. And there's no sign of it getting any better...I'm not sure if it can get any better. Good people have tried to change it, to fix things...and failed. I don't know if there is a solution.

Getting more close to home, my health is giving me issues.  I've not been in good health since I was in the 6th grade, but it's getting worse. I used to have good days and bad days...now I have bad days and terrible days. I live in a fairly small house...and now I sometimes need help to get to the kitchen to make my food. I have difficulty sometimes even reaching down to turn on the faucet.
If my shoe gets untied? Forget it. I can't physically bend down to tie it. I used to be able to stand & walk for about an hour before I started to have serious issues. Now, if I get 10 minutes I'm lucky. And that's just ONE of the health problems I'm dealing with.

I used to have multiple things I enjoyed, but most of them have been taken away from me.
In somewhat chronological order, Since 2011:
  1. DC Comics. Had my first DC comic read to me at 5 days old, and then in 2011 DC threw away it's entire history, including totally obliterating my favorite characters from the new continuity
  2. Star Wars. My first memory of anything is watching Empire Strikes Back. When Disney bought it they threw away the entire history and started publishing crap.
  3. Lake George. My favorite place in the world. Due to my health problems I wasn't able to go at all for three years, the only years of my life I wasn't able to get there. In that time the family owned motel we stayed at since 1987 closed. While we did go back last year its not anywhere like it once was, and for all intents and purposes it's just the same as not going at all. 
  4. Our Jeep. Our Jeep is totally dead, and we're probably going to lose the only license plate number I've ever known because of it. As a lifelong car guy knowing our Jeep is probably going to be destroyed within the next few months is heartwrenching. 
  5. Foods- since I got diabetes in 2013 I've had to give up some of my favorite foods, and others I can no longer eat because they now make me sick, including but not limited to such staples as milk. Furthermore, I actually have to eat MORE now and I know, without fail, I will be nauseous between lunch and dinner every single day. 
  6. My diecast collection. 1/64 NASCAR diecast actually used to be my #1 hobby, more than cards. Now that it costs me $500 or more a month just to stay alive (it constantly fluctuates) I can no longer afford to collect both cards and diecast and since cards are physically easier to handle- and cover all my interests instead of just one- they won out. 
  7. Model building. I used to be a fairly decent modeler- not top of the line, but good enough that my work has been published a half dozen times. Since about 2011 or 2012 I have lost the ability to build, especially to lay down a good paint job. I have no idea why this is, I can't explain it, because I do the exact same thing, and what used to work doesn't anymore. I've just about given up on multiple occasions, but I still keep trying, and keep failing, and keep getting frustrated. I feel like I'm forgetting something, too, my my memory is affected by my health problems, which is one of the reasons I started the blog, so I wouldn't have to try and remember something, I could just look through the history to see it.
I'm down to basically three things I enjoy and I am really afraid I'm going to lose two of them this year. I still enjoy going to two scale model shows a year, and 1 or possibly 2 real car shows a year. As of right now, I will not be able to physically do any of them...as it was before just walking around one car show for an hour would basically mean I would not be able to walk for days, literally. But it was worth it, a tradeoff I was willing to make. Now, I don't think I can even make that physical sacrifice even if I wanted to. Just walking to my kitchen from my computer is a painful chore on most days, something I used to be able to accomplish in literally 45 seconds. (I counted, for some reason)

I'm also feeling conflicted about NASCAR. I've never been able to bring myself to admit it before now, but I have not really been enjoying it all that much lately. You may have noticed that my posts have skewed more towards NBA and of late hockey- I've been watching the NHL as a true fan for just over a month and it's already moved past NASCAR for my #2 sport. Now this year NASCAR is making even more unnecessary changes that it sounds like are going to be bad...I can't say for sure they will be but it doesn't sound good. I can't bring myself to leave the sport...I left the NBA in 2006 to 2012 and I now consider it one of the worst things I've ever done, and I'm afraid if I bail on NASCAR I will regret it immensely...so I will watch every race and complain about missing the NBA and NHL games that conflict with it, out of the fear that I will commit another huge mistake. I do feel that I'm at a crossroads with the sport. The couple of weeks before the new season are usually some of the most anticipation I feel for the sport, and it starts in two weeks...and I'm not really feeling it at all. When I left the NBA, on retrospect, it was me that had the issue...absence truly did make the heart grow fonder. But I still consider it a huge mistake.

And now I (finally) get to my point. Sports, watching sports, is the best part of the day, any day, no matter what day. When I'm laying in bed when I first get up, already feeling pain and dreading getting up and so forth, thinking about what games I'm going to watch that day, or thinking about what cards I can scan, post to the Trading Card Database or here on my blog, it's my main reason for getting up each day. Writing this blog is my only "outlet"...it's the only thing where I feel like I actually contribute something to the world. Even though it's a small thing and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, at least it's not nothing.

I'm sorry this post is a bit of a downer. It is, I know. I'm not trying to be "oh woe is me" here, I just needed to vent a little. I figured I might as well get through this on a day I'm already pretty down- today is the 15th anniversary of my dad losing his battle with cancer.

Also, I want to say thank you to everyone I've interacted with in this community. The intelligence and kindness of the people in this hobby are top notch. In all my years in this hobby, and the online portion of the hobby (29 in hobby, 17 in online community) I've only ever found two people I can say I truly dislike, where else can you find a group of people that good?

I'll make sure that my next posts are upbeat and happy, I promise. After all, this is the thing I live for.

23 comments:

  1. And my sports intake just went up, as my mom surprised me with NHL Center Ice. Now I should be able to see every team during my first year, something that did not happen with the NBA.

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  2. Keep up the blogging! It is good therapy and I enjoy reading your posts! Hang in there!

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    1. Thank you! I have no intention to slow down any time soon :)

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  3. Keep your chin up Billy. I for one always enjoy reading your posts. I'm also glad to hear your still enjoying Hockey. Hopefully your health improves enough to get out to a show or two

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    1. Thanks Mark (I missed your comment earlier). I am really enjoying hockey. I wish I had started watching sooner. But I wouldn't have been able to get into it because last time I tried about 2 years ago I wasn't able to see the puck. I am hoping I will be able to make it to a couple of my favorite shows this year...time will tell, of course.

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  4. Keep moving forward my friend. Things in society WILL get better. I believe people with decency and compassion will prevail. It won't be easy but America will right itself soon enough.

    I have a box packed up for you. It'll go out Monday. I can't believe you are/were a diecast collector and you'll see why soon enough. I was a collector, too. I still collect 1/64 Mustangs.

    Focus on the good things in your life, and keep blogging.

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    1. Thank you, I hope you are right. While documenting my card collection is an ongoing process, documenting my diecast collection is at about 99% done. I have them all on my website if you want to look...I don't know how to post a link in a comment so you'll have to copy and paste. http://public.fotki.com/ElCaminoBilly/diecast/

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  5. Modeling. Man - I used to put together a ton of models as a kid. Usually WW2 airplanes, and then with clear sewing thread and a thumb tack, hang dogfights from the ceiling. My brother figured out you could heat a needle in a candle and then you could poke the body and wings to simulate bullet holes.

    Those were the day.

    I might get back to it, if I ever really had time. But I actually love to watch YT for guys that build the ever loving hell out of model kits and make them a billion times better than I ever did. I really like this guy's work:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC53hZgZPlQmKWFRFSpxbSxw

    All that being said, sorry to hear that things are down right now. Use what you can hobby wise to keep focus away from being bummed out. I hope to get some of the mailings from Tis The Season out next week - I'll make yours need to the top of the pile so you have stuff to sort through. There may be some bonus cards within (hint: there are).

    And yeah - I think blowing away post ROJ canon from SW sucked, but I understand that it hate to be done or TFN could never have been made with the tight confines to keep it within the EU at the time. Some of the books sucked (I'm looking first at you, "Crystal Star"), but losing the X-Wing book series and "Starfighters of Adumar" really were a shot to my gut.

    AND I CANNOT FIND MY SIGNED COPY OF THAT BOOK!!! When I presented it to Mr. Allston to sign at an event, he commented on how beat up it was. I replied "I've read it three times already and have laughed out loud in fast food joints while reading it". I got the impression he appreciated my love of the book.

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    1. I just moved into aircraft when I joined my local IPMS chapter in 2009. I was automotive only before then. One of my friends tells the story of attempting to simulate flight by using the thread or fishing wire to hang aircraft from a ceiling fan, then turning it on...it did not end well! That builder is pretty good. I subscribed to him. I have not done too much video work on my modeling but it takes up a lot of my website ( http://public.fotki.com/ElCaminoBilly/ ) Crystal Star was indeed terrible, and I wasn't a huge fan of the Vong invasion either, but still. The X-Wing series was my favorite, both in prose and comic form. they simply were the best!

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  6. Even though you've had to give up other hobbies I know that a lot of people are appreciative of all the work that you do for this hobby!

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  7. Hope that you know that, even though "we people of the internet", don't truly know you, we do appreciate your thoughts, blog, and kindred interest in collecting. Though we may not understand your day to day struggles as we don't have to live it as you do, I hope it is fair to say on behalf of everyone else here, we are happy to be here for you and try to lift your spirits or make you day better if we can.

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    1. Thank you! You do, all of you. Just by blogging and giving me something to read (even if I don't have anything worth saying in the comment section) I try to read every new post that shows up on my blogroll.

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  8. I really appreciate your insight Billy. You add so much to our community by blogging about basketball. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks! I don't plan to stop anytime soon!

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  9. This was sad to read, but I can relate to a lot of it. I dont have the serious health problems that you do (yet?) but I do have bouts of anxiety and depression that have been exacerbated by the current state of our national discourse. Sports - and specifically sports cards (since far too often the villains win on the field, too) have kept me alive in ways I cant fully articulate. My wife gets on my case for buying cards sometimes but it's just about the only thing I enjoy anymore.

    I'm sorry to hear of your health issues, and the loss of all those things you once enjoyed. But this blogging community is so supportive and writing/blogging/venting can be so cathartic. I hope that posting this (and your mom's surprise gift of NHL Center Ice) helped you feel better.

    Hang in there, bud.

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    1. Thanks Chris...truth be told I've been mulling this post over in my head for a while so I know exactly what you mean by not being able to articulate it the way you want to. Even though I've never met anybody in the blogosphere personally I don't think, I do feel like I've got some good friends in the hobby.

      Center Ice has already come in handy, I watched the Oilers-Canadiens game yesterday, that I would have missed otherwise, and today we were laughing about it as none of the three games on today's schedule can be watched on it- one being nationally televised and two being blocked out by being locally broadcast teams! It seems they don't repeat like the NBA does, which is troublesome, as I like to watch multiple games in a day...it doesn't matter to me if they are live or not...heck, it doesn't even always matter to me if I had already seen them or not, sometimes!

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  10. Hang in there, I always enjoy reading your Basketball blogs.

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    1. thank you, I am not stopping any time soon, but my next few posts will probably be non-sports

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  11. Billy, i can't begin to relate to your situation. do focus on what makes you happy. I believe we live in the 'now' but we rarely realize it. we do only have this moment, this breath. in that moment Billy, do what makes you happy. do keep blogging, enjoy sports and even the smallest things that bring you peace. i think you have my email address but if not.... acrackedbat at gmail dot com - please send me your mailing address. thanks for being so willing to share your situation.

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    1. Thank you Julie, you are right, sometimes you don't realize what you have until it's gone...I didn't have your email but I will send you one now, I just saw your post. Thanks!

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  12. I hope things get better for you buddy. I enjoy coming to read your blog when you post. Just keep coming back to post and keep watching all the sports you wanna even NASCAR. But, I agree with you on the sport, they keep changing unnecessary things that's what pushed me away back in 05.I am pretty much a football guy now.

    Hope you have a great Sunday and rest of the week. Take care my friend!

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    1. Thank you! I'll keep posting, no worries there :)

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