By Jeff Hacket aka txtaz1102

What does card collecting mean to you? To me, growing up it was another way to connect with my parents, they would buy the packs of cards and we would open them and spend time together going over the cards we had gotten and the ones we still needed. My mother and I could sit for a few hours a week talking and putting together the sets that we were working on. It was a great moment in time and something I still remember when looking at all those boxes of cards that are still sitting on the shelves in the closet. The value of those cards still is not in the money that sits in those boxes, but in the value of the time spent with those I love. The memories are much greater in worth than the rookie cards and base that fill those dusty boxes.

We stopped collecting in my teenage years due to various reasons and I fell out of collecting all together. Sports and high school activities began to take a more pronounced role in my life and baseball cards did not fit into the time I had for all my activities. As time passed and my young adult life began to take shape, there was still no room for collecting cards. Then, marriage and work began and my adult life left little opportunity for anything but taking care of my family and paying bills. Even though I had my obligations, and we all have some form of obligations, I missed those moments when my mom and I would sit and look over the players we loved to watch on television and the moments we had shared during those years growing up.

On a whim one day doing the grocery shopping, I saw and purchased a blaster box of 2011 Bowman Chrome from the local Wal-Mart store just to see what had become of the baseball cards I had collected in my youth. What got my attention more than any autograph or relic card that came out of those packs (none did that day) was the fact that my six year old son was enthralled with the cards. He plays Little League ball and knows who the players are for the Astros, our hometown team, but the first question he asked was “Daddy, are the any Berkman’s?” He knew which player he wanted and did not care that Lance Berkman had moved on from the Astros. He has begun his start into collecting by knowing who he wants to root for and who he wants to collect.

That statement and his excitment for what we were doing brought back the same memories I had with my mom. Collecting cards will be something we do in my home for our family from today forward. The time spent sharing memories and creating new ones with both my son and my mom are going to be the best payment for returning to a hobby I had loved so much as a child. Sitting at the kitchen table with fresh packs of cards and teaching my son how to open the pack, how to handle the cards, and how to admire the heroes that he will have in the sports world. Teaching him how and why things are important (or not) and using something we can enjoy together as the vehicle to those conversations.

So I ask again, what does collecting mean to you? To me the most important part of collecting anything is the memories that are made while doing what you love. The paper and pictures will fade and the corners may round on that beloved card, but the memories of sitting there with family and friends will stay with me for as long as I live. Collecting is not about the money spent or the money made, there is no amount of money that will replace the feelings I had when we would sit around that table marking checklists. It was a wonderful time then, and it will be just as wonderful sharing the same experiences with my own child. Hopefully, he will remember it just as I do and cherish those memories when he is my age.