By Ethan Cahn aka hhliving1101

What a year it’s been so far, exclusives (although some will say monopolies), limits set by leagues and so many changes have happen in such a short period of time. What has happened to the hobby as a whole to change the view thousands of collectors previously had of it? It used to be an outlet to collect for YOUR love of the game, or the player. Now it seems as if all of us, and I am guilty of this too, have lost sight of why we loved to collect in the first place.

I recently had the pleasure of collecting the 2010 Score set with my 9 year old son, as his/my funds were, well hurting. Score gave us the opportunity to collect cards at a very reasonable price and almost all of the cards(Inserts included) were obtainable. To top it off they decided to throw in autographs, No not top tier players in most cases, but excellent for a set with a .99 cent pack price, and a joy to see a little boy pull and autograph card, regardless of who it was.

Topps and others have tried, and still continue to try to cater to the kids, but truth is with all the short printed inserts and rare variations, it is very hard (and very expensive in some cases) to complete a set. Topps does offer more in the way of memorabilia and are slightly better with the calibre of players for their autograph checklist. However, they decided to run the Gridiron Giveaway Program within their base football set, the problem with this is I see that as a program geared more toward the seasoned collectors, like many of us. Instead of attempting to bring back the kids to the hobby, which they had announced they would do when they were awarded the exclusive baseball licensing rights, and given a second chance with football.

For a few years now Topps has had their Toppstown site, which for a youngster is very good but leaves the kids a little unfulfilled. An example of this I have for you would be this year’s Baseball version, I gave my son every code I pulled, he did get all but 7 “virtual” cards, but then turned to me and asked “what are these, are they coming in the mail or something”. After I explained the program to him again, not only was he disappointed, but put off from it as a whole.

Fact is, we as core collectors HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!

Recently Upper Deck has launched a new program, known as The Upper Deck Volunteer Alliance their goal, simply put is to get people/us involved, and bring awareness to what it’s all about. Their most recent “mission” was for people to get a friend who use to collect to simply try to open a box of today’s cards. Most of the people who had previous exposure had not opened a pack of cards since the boom of the 80′s, and had no clue in regards to autographs or jersey card being part of “simple” Baseball, Football, or Basketball cards.

For more information on the Alliance check out their Facebook link:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Up…45948148780885

This is how we get the former collectors and the children back into this, we do it together, as ONE, because if we don’t our hobby will be even more limited and expensive then it already is……