Monday, August 3, 2015

Expanding Horizons

I felt like writing something, but didn't know what to write, a topic I've been thinking about for some time now.

My card horizons have really expanded as of late. 2015 has been an extraordinary year, Things have happened this year that I never could have predicted, never could have imagined when the year began. I also have hunted down some cards that I thought I would never be able to get but that's not the scope of this post (and besides, I've already shown them!)

First, some history...

I've been collecting cards since 1988. From 1988-92 I collected non-sports exclusively. At Christmas 1992 I was introduced to the world of NASCAR and that took up about 80% of my collecting from 1993-1995. In April 1996, I was introduced to the world of the NBA and that was when I went all-out with cards. I collected more than 72,000 different NBA cards between 1996 and 2005. I mostly ignored NASCAR cards for a large portion of this time, and I stopped collecting non-sports totally in roughly 1996. Essentially, if it wasn't an NBA card, I just didn't care. (Even today, I have very little NASCAR from the 1998-2000 seasons, when I finally wised up and spent more time on my NASCAR cards, it was during 2003 and later and the boxes from that time are expensive due to the chance of getting Dale Earnhardt's autograph)

I had no interest in anything else.

Sure, I got some other kinds of cards, usually by them being inadvertantly put into my preferred method of getting new NBA cards, getting them in mixed boxes.

In 2006 I got burned out. I was not happy with the cards being produced, I was not overly happy with how the NBA was going, and and while I still enjoyed NASCAR, I have never been a fan of Press Pass's sub-par cards.

I trailed off. I actually stopped collecting the NBA in late 2006, and while I still technically collected NASCAR cards, I was not actively chasing them. This hit an all-time low in 2008 when I only documented 1 new card...for the entire year! That is not to say it was the only card I got; it was the only one I documented. My card listing is one of my favorite parts of the hobby and if I wasn't even maintaining that, then you know I was in a bad place with my hobby.

Things would change though, in 2009. My brother bought me a couple of packs of Wheels Element at the local Target, and I really liked the set. It is one of those things where I really, really liked the set when new, but then as time went on, it lost it's impact to me. I went crazy for this set when it came out, and I eventually did a box of it- it was the first box I had done since September 2006. I was enjoying cards again, and at that time I was collecting NASCAR only.

Then, in 2010, I discovered the Star Wars cards currently being produced by Topps. Perhaps discovered is not the correct term; I knew they were produced, I just didn't bother with them...even though I love Star Wars. (My earliest memory of ANYTHING is watching Empire Strikes Back). The Galaxy sets and, more importantly, the Empire Strikes Back 3Di set. It was already fairly old by Target card isle standards so I only was able to get a handful of packs. But it brought me back into the non-sports side of the hobby full time. I really enjoyed it, and since my "Card Renaissance"  I have truly enjoyed the non-sports world more than I have ever before, and more than even the NASCAR side. Unfortunately there is not a lot produced for non-sports these days, and even less that I have access to. Several of the sets I really wanted I missed out on totally like the Cult-Stuff Civil War and World War 1 sets. I know that I'll probably never be able to get them now. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that I have been able to get a lot of vintage stuff- stuff I never knew even existed, so I couldn't even dream about one day owning a copy of my own.

2012 is when I finally came back to the NBA. I realize, in retrospect, it was really ME that had the problem, not the cards. With my various health problems, I suspect (or, I should say, I'm about 99% sure of) it was me not thinking totally straight, because when I came back...I realized how wrong I was to leave. I regret that now immensely. And not only because I don't remember where some of my cards went off to, either. On the plus side, I now appreciate my cards much more than I once did. Before, I would get so many of them that I didn't take the time to do anything more than take note of which cards I got, before it was on to the next cards. I didn't even read them most of the time. The biggest, glaring example of that: I opened the entire box of 2002-03 Topps Chrome in the parking lot of a local Dunkin' Donuts while my mom went in to get lunch. It may have even been two boxes, I no longer remember, but back then I used to be able to afford two boxes of each NBA set, so it wouldn't surprise me.

Now I collect the NBA full time, I would collect NASCAR if they were still being published, and I collect the non-sport topics I follow regularly. (By collecting full time/following regularly, terms I use interchangeably, I mean that I add new ones to my collection as often as I can, I keep detailed records of my collection on paper and the computer, I spend time thinking about them when I am not working on them, etc).

Now, to get back to my topic of this post, in 2015 I've spent more time on the other cards that are around than ever before in my life. Going back to January 31st when my friend gave more almost 3000 hockey cards, as well as several hundred football and baseball cards. I actually finally sorted and counted my other sports collections. Before that day, I had a grand total of 28 hockey cards.
I have an actual collection now of all the major sports, and since then I've picked up a few cards for each of them...while I don't foresee me taking on any other sports on a regular basis, I have enjoyed working with the cards I was given.

But it's more than that. I decided that I wanted to contribute something to each of the categories available on the Trading Card Database, so I actively hunted down some cards of the other sports- tennis, golf, MMA, soccer and boxing- some of which I was only able to add the pack itself to the Database, the cards themselves already posted. (Truth be told, I have not actually opened the boxing pack yet) I enjoyed opening something totally new, even if I don't actually watch the sport. I was able to hunt down two horse racing cards as well so I was able to contribute to the Misc. Sports category as well. There are some other sports that have cards that are not present in my collection, for example I learned in the past few weeks that they made cards for curling. (I actually enjoy curling, but I enjoy almost every event of the Olympics, even though I believe it's only an exhibition there)
I have not actually purchased any wrestling cards, but I was able to contribute an advertisement so I have something for wrestling under my stats. I do have 5 wrestling cards in my collection; 1 promo that I have currently misplaced, and 4 1980s cards that I was given.

I never imagined that I would ever purchase some of these cards, and I doubt I will purchase any more soccer or MMA cards in the future as I just can't get into those sports.

I could, actually, see myself collecting some of the other sports....(thinking about maybe getting some Allen & Ginter, but mostly to look for the non-sports inserts included) but it would require one big thing for that to occur...a lottery win. I can barely afford to collect what I do now, what with having to spend at least $500 a month on medicine...each and every month.

I just love cards...pretty much every card. The concept of trading cards as a's just perfect.
I am truly lucky to be able to have the collection I do. It means so much to me to be able to spend some time with my cards...the happiest memories of my life all mostly revolve around my cards. 

And in case you are wondering, I opened up the boxing pack while I was composing this post, and did a page of scans, so I could include it in the New Horizons image.


  1. This is one of your BEST blog posts. Although I have to admit, I do NOT remember getting lunch at Dunkin' Donuts! (ewwww). I am glad your collection makes you so happy. With all of the health problems you have, it sure is nice to know that you can find something to take your mind off them.

    1. Remember that strawberry drink I used to get?

  2. Great post! Sometimes you need to step back from collecting to regain focus.

    1. Thanks! It is true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder.