Dumb and Dumber for the Young and Younger
By Chad Gardner aka Gardzy99
It was 1980. I had just pulled off the deal of my 7 year old lifetime. I finally had the 1978 Topps Grease trading card of Sandy in her black outfit, cigarette hanging out of the corner of her lips. Never again would I have to go a day without looking at my Sandy. That card would stay the rest of the year inside my pencil case at school. And all I had to give up for it was one of my Wayne Gretzky cards from the previous year. I had 4 of them. What would it hurt giving one of them up for this card of my skin tight, black clad, imaginary girlfriend?? And even after I traded that one, I’d have 2 more extras……..1 for each set of spokes on my bike.
Time passed. My infatuation with Sandy faded, replaced by my huge crush on the new teacher at our school, Mrs. Wolanski. The card disappeared too. It probably disintegrated in that old plastic pencil case, being pierced repeatedly by coloured pencils and mathematics compasses. The 2 extra Gretzky cards were washed away by rain and ripped out of the clothes pins that held them to the steel frame of my bike. And my last Gretzky…….thrown out by mom. As well as countless other hockey cards and Star Wars figures I pray I could own now, Gretzky ended up in a garbage dump somewhere, never to be seen again.
Looking back on these memories I ask myself was it worth it? The answer is yes. I had the cards I wanted. At that time, I had completed every set I wanted. They were not displayed in protective pages. They were held together in dog-eared, elastic bound bundles. O-Pee-Chee Hockey, Grease, Jaws and Superman cards were my pride and joy. I was on top of the world, until we moved. Mom cleaned house and destroyed my collections. It didn’t matter. My cards were replaceable. The sets were small. The numbers were in my favour. I’d have them back in no time.
Three years passed. My obsession with these cards was replaced by rock music. Kiss was the most amazing band ever and they had trading cards. I was addicted. I borrowed my older neighbours Kiss albums and I spent my small allowance on Kiss cards. I had the set in no time. Then Mom cleaned house again. Collection gone.
Four years passed. I was going to be in high school. My friends and I started hanging out at 7-11 for lunch hours. One day I noticed they sold O-Pee-Chee hockey cards. We all started buying them instead of food. I collected the set and at this time discovered you could buy protective pages for your cards. I did and I used an old school binder to store them in. Mom never touched the binder. I guess they looked more important and less like garbage organized the way they were. Over the years, some of the cards went missing. I’m sure it was my cousins borrowing from me. However, I was able and did replace the ones I needed. I still own this set of 87-88 O-Pee-Chee cards today. It has no huge rookie cards or unaffordable base, but it’s the first set I completed at an age I realized this was my hobby. To me it’s priceless.
To keep the younger generation interested, keep it simple. The cards I collected in my youth were small sets. It was very achievable to complete them in a short amount of time. In my older age, I tried to keep up with the larger sets, the subsets, the parallels, the rookies and the game used but found it’s impossible and my interest waned. I believe the companies should create a small set each year that has no parallels, no inserts and a small amount of rookies. The collecting would be affordable, and the younger generations would have their interest held. They’d have a completion goal of 200 cards instead of 2000 cards. The finish line would be in sight from the very start of the collecting project. The excitement would build and never fade. Even I have changed my collecting methods. I now select a subset that interests me and I try to complete it. Most of the projects are 10-20 cards and my sense of accomplishment adds to my love of the product and the sport itself. Mind you I have a few larger, lifelong projects on the go such as 06/07 Parkhurst Hockey Autos. I’ve decided to pace myself on this one for years. My smaller projects are finished quickly and require me trading most of my bait, but occasionally I pick up my lifelong project items at shows for a decent price.
Simply stated, to keep the interest of the younger generations and even Simple Simons such as myself (always young at heart), the companies need to dumb it down a little. And if that’s never going to happen, the individual needs to dumb it down for themselves as I have. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Dumb and dumber for the young and younger.
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