First off I would like to wish all of the fathers out there...Happy Father's Day!!
For this Father's Day, I would like to look back onto how I got into collecting. And I wouldn't be the collector I am without my father getting me into it.
Back in 1993, my father and I took a usual grocery shopping trip. Yup...as boring as can be. For years my father had tried to spike my interest into sports but nothing caught on. I was more into acting like Batman, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Darkwing Duck among other NBC Disney cartoons back in those days. So on this grocery trip, we picked up the necessities quickly and we were about to check out when my father looked over to a shiny metal rack next to the register that had packs of trading cards. Hockey and Baseball boxes with packs sat there. He went over and picked up a 4 packs, 2 of each and told me we would open them in the car. I didn't know anything about the sports or what cards were except a buddy of mine had some. I asked him what he was doing and responded, "lets try something new." I still don't know why he went over to the rack in the first place. Or what caught his eye, but at that time I was still thinking about how I was going to defeat the bad guys and not what I would be thinking now in lets bust some more.
We finally finished checking out and headed out to the car. We entered the vehicle and he handed me a pack of each sport. Whoever would have thought that opening up a couple packs of cards would change my life course. He began to tell me as we ripped (it took me a little while to get into the pack I really didn't know how to open one unlike now where its busted in seconds) into them the usual horror story of former adult collectors who used their valuable cards as tire spike noisers. And how he now regretted doing so. He no longer had any of his former collection even the ones that had been saved from his bike of doom.
I ripped into the two packs finally and flipped through them. I didn't know players that well other than a few he spouted off every so often (when he was mad at his team on TV). But something to do with the shinyness, the appeal to the players on the field diving for catches or scoring goals, the value to them that my father spoke of and the unique feeling of bonding between my father and I in the moment that something about these cards caught my attention. I couldn't believe it. Was I actually going to maybe watch a sporting event on TV? Collect cards? Really? Me? I was still uncertain at that point but what he or I didn't know was from there he created a monster.
The next 5 shopping trips resulted in packs of cards. I didn't care about the sports we collected and we even got non sports as well such as Power Rangers, Batman, etc to draw me in even more. Soon before I knew it, I had even began playing sports against him and watching more sports on TV to learn the players names..and to actually enjoy the games. I for once was enjoying watching sports.
Over a year later, I knew players names and stats including ones that my dad spouted and I began to do so as well, we had a decent collection going, and I could beat him at basketball and baseball. Later on, I would beat him in football as well when my buddies would come over and we played on opposite teams. My interest in kids shows on Saturday mornings turned into watching sports on the news for scores and home-run counts. Then my weekends would be spent watching whatever was on for sports. We even went to Giants Stadium twice and local high school events for football.
Within a couple of years I was deep in the hobby and into sports. Collecting it all, every sport, every card. We would box up our doubles after I sorted them (he would provide the $ for them most of the time except when I won playing Bingo with my grandmother or birthday money so I would do all of the sorting) and sell them cheap (I still sort them the same way and do the same kind of selling now). We visited our LCS (when they were around) and went to card shows (when those were around as well). And as for sports, I grew up loving football the most (even though at that point I enjoyed hockey, baseball, and basketball as well) so it was only time before I joined Pop Warner than high school playing as a DE, DT, OT, and TE.
All of our time was spent building our collection together. I still have most of what we bought back then. When I moved out of my parents house as obviously you do when you grow up, we split our collection as fair as possible in half. My dad retired from collecting a year later and sold off his half. I still regret not being able to buy it but just didn't have the money at the time. I only grew more and more into collectingand never turned my back onit.
20 years later into collecting and here I am. I am on Twitter, Facebook, 2 forums, run 2 blogs, visit a ton of sport card sites and blogs. Became accustomed to talking to some of the big name companies and employees in the business especially from Panini. I may not be at the top of everything, but I feel I am apart of the hobby as much as possible and trying to do my best to help keep it alive.
I hope my collecting and passion for this hobby will also pass on as well. If you haven't collected yet with your little ones, just remember, all it takes is five minutes and a pack of cards. Getting your younger ones into collecting is great, not only for keeping the hobby alive, but its a bonding experience like no other.
Happy Fathers Day again and if you do get to bust some boxes and packs...let us see them on Twitter or Facebook! Also, if you got a collecting story to tell about you and your father please feel free to do so. Would enjoy to hear them.