By Carrie Freeman aka Miss Inertia

I can vividly remember sitting in my fathers lap watching Super Bowl XX. I had just turned six years old. I remember yelling every time the Bears would score. What little girl doesn’t like bears? I remember the sights and sounds of the halftime show and the celebration afterwards when the Bears were crowned World Champions. I remember my father explaining plays and positions in great detail even though I was at a loss for what most of it meant. I enjoyed hearing him talk football.

I remember being in church the following Sunday and everyone laughing at me when they raised their arms to praise God. I threw my arms up too but shouted “TOUCHDOWN!”

Three months later, I lost my mother and father in a car crash. My brother and I were adopted by close family friends. My adopted dad, whom I refer to as Dad, opened a hobby shop shortly after we were adopted. I spent hours and hours inside that shop learning the game of football. While all of my friends were playing with Barbie dolls and Strawberry Shortcake I was learning stats and studying plays and formations. A few years later I was entrusted with set building. After school I would be at a table with every base card from a case Dad had just busted, putting them in order and making sure to read every card as I did so. The cards I liked Dad would set aside and put in a 3 ring binder for me.

Years went by and now my friends had left the Barbies for boys. I, however, remained at the shop collating cards and building my collection. There weren’t many days that you could have come into the shop and not seen me behind a large stack of cards. I was a stat machine for anyone who came in to buy, sell or trade. After high school I went away to college, returning to the shop every weekend without fail to help and to build my own collection. That collection now sits in a storage unit and is nearing two million dollars in value.

I continue to build and expand my collection as the years go by. I still help out at the shop when I can afford the time to. My Dad still emails and calls me daily with football questions that he has received from customers. Indeed, still, on any given Sunday you can find me at the shop behind a stack of cards with a game on the television and a smile on my face. I love the game of football.

Being a girl in this hobby has never been a downfall or nuisance for me. Every now and again someone will try to take advantage of me but I believe that happens to everyone. If you’re knowledgeable of the sport and of the hobby you’ll be okay. The rules of football have changed over the years, as has the hobby. The one constant that has remained is that football is the greatest game played on this planet and as long as that stands, there will be collectors of great players.

My fondest memory? I can vividly remember sitting in my fathers lap watching Super Bowl XX, I had just turned 6 years old. What little girl doesn’t like bears?