Friday, April 8, 2016

Happy National Trading Cards for Grown-Ups Day!

Wait a minute. You mean EVERY day isn't National Trading Cards for Grown-Ups Day?


I suppose that the only way to properly celebrate is to open as many packs of trading cards as possible today. You know, unlike every other day.

It does bring one question to the forefront though.

Why is it assumed that trading cards aren't for grown-ups?

Just think of all the ridiculous things that people adults collect. Paintings. Teapots. Dolls. Vases. Spoons. Disneyana. Elvis. Star Wars. Coins. Stamps. Postcards. 

Are trading cards really that weird? Seems perfectly reasonable to me that adults would collect trading cards. Frankly, it makes more sense than kids collecting them. Cardboard pictures? Isn't that just a stiffer version of a stamp? But, adults. Ahh. They're the ones that can appreciate the history behind them. The can appreciate the care needed to really collect them. They can appreciate the subtle differences between styles and brands. They won't throw them against a wall or but them in the spokes of their bicycle.

Can you imagine someone "collecting" a teapot doing that?

The distinction does, however, bring up a question I often ask myself. Why do I collect trading cards? When I get right down to it, what is it? They're not all that unique, compared to a collection of salt and pepper shakers for instance. They don't always display very nicely. Especially when they're hidden in a binder or storage box. So, what is it?

Trading cards, whichever kind they are, appear to be simply extensions of some other type of collection or hobby. I love the Red Sox, and baseball, so I collect baseball cards. People who love Star Wars collect Star Wars Cards. People who love Frozen collect Frozen cards. Nobody, that I know of, collects trading cards because of the cards themselves. I don't look at a box of cards and think, I'm not a fan of Harry Potter, but I like the look of those cards. I'm going to buy a box. Do you?

So, if you look at them as a subset of a collection, they make a lot more sense. They're an easy way to keep track of all the players on the Red Sox in a colorful and interesting way. Better than just buying the yearbook every year and flipping through it. 

There's also, admittedly, the gambling aspect of it. That's why I've always been a pack ripper. You never know what's going to be in there. Will it be the Red Sox card I need? Will it be two of them? Will it be that super-rare one? I remember in 1998 my local card shop had a box of 1990 leaf packs. Those packs, of course, might have contained the rookie card of Sammy Sosa...who was tearing up the home run record books. I don't want to say how much money I spent on packs trying to get the card. Let's just say it was more than it would have cost to just buy the card. Even in 1998. But, it was the thrill of the hunt that did it. And, no, I didn't get one. (I did get a Frank Thomas, though, as a nice consolation prize.)

So, I guess that's it. A way to get my gambling fix, and support my Red Sox obsession. Those seem like good reasons to me.

What are your reasons?

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