Friday, October 12, 2018

The Origins Of A Cardboard Addict: Its A Mystery!

Earlier on this year, my best friend Brian texted me and asked if I wanted to be in his wedding as his Best Man in August. Without much hesitation, I took the invitation and accepted.

Even though our friendship has changed over the years as we have gotten older and live further apart, we still always check in on each other through texting. Especially when we play our favorite video game, Madden. We keep each other updated on our wins, defeats and stats. Sounds dorky, but we enjoy it.

The wedding was being held at his house where I knew nostalgia would be crazy. I spent so much time there when I was a kid. We spent countless hours outside playing baseball, basketball and football and other imaginary fun games. We also spent the time helping his father doing chores- I will touch base on a unique payment for one of our jobs later on-and we also played the occasional Nintendo games. I didn't have any gaming units at my house so this was an extra treat for me.

It had been 20 years since I have visited this house and property that extends many acres. He lives four hours away so when we do meet up, it's usually at my house and it's sadly only been averaging once a year. So I had no reason really to drive to our old stomping grounds.

When I pulled into the long driveway, instant nostalgia hit. That was the driveway we played football on. I could remember getting many touchdowns on that field while also avoiding tackling our friend Aaron when he came out to play. He was quite the built dude and at that time I was quite the stick.

I parked into a spot where we once used to play baseball and got out of the car and looked around. The property had changed so much over the years and not just because of the added tents for the wedding. Trees had grown in where we once used to play baseball on my "home field", the barn we used to play in was torn down, the shed we used as our clubhouse to store our Mountain Dew and Beef Jerky was collapsing. The basketball hoop we once played on wasn't there anymore and there were some fences and landscaping that had been done since.

There was a pile of brush in the other football field we occasionally used that later on turned into this cool fire they used to roast corn on. As that fire grew bigger, all I could picture was "the other Brian", who came over to play with Brian and I, and we had done a small campfire until he decided it wasn't big enough and threw half a container of gasoline into the fire while standing next to it. Let's just say he probably wouldn't do that again as every hair on his body was burned off and you could smell it. Luckily for him, he wasn't badly hurt. His choice of decision to do such a moronic thing was probably led on from the containers of vanilla frosting we had been eating and chugging Mountain Dew down to wash it down with. That's quite the sugar high by the way.

The wedding itself was done next to his parent's house and oversaw the pond we once played in. Sorry for the sideways photo for some reason it wouldn't turn the right way. Some of my buddies from graded school also showed up and we chit-chatted about the good ole days. Which also turned the nostalgia way up. All of us are in our mid 30's sounding like we are in our mid 60's with the bumps and bruises we have experienced over the years..

The one thing that hit me hard after the wedding was over was the fact that all of us are so different now. Old friends and his family weren't the same. Not even Brian was. At times I felt out of place there and wanted to leave, but I stayed for the duration. The place I once spent as my second home wasn't the same either.

Things were not the same and never will be.

I also know this is hobby wise as well.

Gone are the days of creativity and being excited to find a card like this,

Yes, a black plastic coated card from 1998 Topps known as 1998 Topps Mystery Finest Interleague Match-Up that fell 1:36 packs or one per box back then. These cards use the Finest technology  but when you pulled the cards, the fronts have a black coating covering up the front of the card and the Finest part of the card. Not to mention the player under it.

There are 4 players on the back from 2 teams who played in interleague play in 1997, I liked interleague play more back then as it was unique to see the lineups for a stretch of the year instead of now when it's all year long.  One of those 4 guys featured on the back is one of the guys you will find on the front of the card once you reveal the mystery!

Back in 1997, I only ever personally pulled one of these cards, I peeled it and it was Greg Maddux. Since then then however, I bought a 6 card lot with the cards still unpeeled which I thought was super cool. And since then I have kept them that way for the mystery.

I have two of each of all of these. Could it be Sammy Sosa? Frank Thomas? Mark Grace? Albert Belle? Ooooo the possibilities!

Some days I am temped to unpeel the mystery but other days I want to keep things the way they are. I wished that could have been the case for this hobby with some of the unique cool creations I got to enjoy in the 90's. I also wished that could have been same at that wedding being around everyone. But, it wasn't and won't ever be and same goes for collecting.
I guess as we all get older and grow apart and the times change, so doesn't life and everything around it. It's how we all adapt to all of the change is the most important part. And I know when it comes to the hobby, I have adapted the best I can but it doesn't mean I don't like to take a step back in time and enjoy what once was. That's the great thing about card collecting and the nostalgia it brings.


  1. Great post. Lots of great things about growing up. But growing apart from childhood friends isn't one of them. Your story sounds very similar to me and my college buddy. We went to school together from Kindergarten to SJSU. After college we shared a place for five years. But after we each bought our own places we grew apart. Like you and your buddy... we still text each other... but even though he lives only 20 minutes away... we only hang maybe once or twice a year. However when we do hang out... it's all about nostalgia and talking about our roadtrips and old friends.

  2. I've got a couple friends (both named Bill) that I started collecting with. They are now married with multiple children (and I am not). I hear from them every so often, and we talk about the stuff we used to do, but they have so much other stuff going on with family etc. that I almost feel like I haven't advanced my life nearly as much. And we've lost relatives and friends along the way so it will never be the same.