By Jordan Freemyer aka free7694

There is a card I have that sums up nearly a decade, or half, of my life. To the average collector it’s really nothing special, but to me it is precious. It is a Vincent Jackson rookie game used card from 2005.

I am currently a student at the University of Northern Colorado, the same school Jackson attended. Additionally, both of my parents went to UNC and my great-grandfather taught there. Needless to say, being a UNC Bear is in my blood. As a school that was, until very recently, Division II we don’t get many athletes in the pros and even less appear on their own cards. That’s part of why I collect Vincent Jackson as he’s the only player from my school that I can find cards of fairly easily.

My dad and I had season tickets to UNC football for Vincent’s entire career there. We went to every game which was a special bond for us; neither of us has missed a UNC game since the early 1990s. While Jackson was at UNC we sat on about the 40-yard line in row F, coincidentally the same letter the jersey on the card is cut into. When he scored his first career touchdown at UNC as a freshman on a punt return the couple right in front of us went absolutely nuts. It turned out we were sitting right behind Vincent’s parents.

Over the years, as Vincent re-wrote the UNC record book, we got to know the Jackson family and even met Vincent a few times. On his senior day my dad, brother, the Jackson family and I were a handful of the few hundred people to show up in a driving snowstorm to see the Bears finish out a 2-9 season. Even though it was freezing cold Vincent was happy to stay on the field and get a picture with us before he headed off to the NFL. We’ve stayed in touch with the Jackson family and have seen them a time or two a year when they come up for games.

I got into the hobby about a year and a half after that, and deciding to collect Vincent’s cards was a no-brainer for me. This card was the first one of his I bought. I paid three or four dollars for it but, once it got here and I saw it, I would’ve paid a hundred. Seeing someone I had met and talked to several times on a football card was one of the coolest feelings ever. The fact that it was a rookie and the jersey was cut into the letter of the row we sat in brought back a ton of great memories and school pride for me.

I look at the card quite often, and it never ceases to bring back great memories of both high school and college for me. The card also recalls the great times I got to spend with my dad at football games together. It is what most people would consider pretty low end but I couldn’t think of any other card I’d rather have.