View Full Version : Thanks for the memories - CONTEST ENTRY

09-27-2010, 05:28 AM
Thanks For The Memories
by AJ Stuart


I have collected sports cards since I was eight. I started with Australian sports cards. I would buy them from the grocery store and I kept the gum in a jar, I never had much interest in the gum, but the first set of cards I completed was the 1990 Scanlens Ashes Cricket set. While I still bought the odd packet of cricket or Australian football cards, when 1994 rolled around the basketball card craze hit and my life changed forever.

For me it started when I traded some 1994 Select AFL cards for some 1993-94 Upper Deck basketball cards. A family friend pointed out an Isaiah Rider rookie card and from that moment on I decided to collect him. I collected a lot of other players too for that matter; I just loved basketball cards because they were different. I had never seen a game of professional basketball on television, and I only started reading about it once I started collecting. There used to be a lot of basketball magazines released in Australia in the mid 1990ís some locally produced and some imported from the United States. I read them to learn more about the game.

When Upper Deck released 1994-95 Collectorís Choice I was fascinated by the silver signature cards and had the good fortune to pull a Michael Jordan silver signature from some packs I bought at a variety store. I headed over to the local card and game shop and traded that Jordan for more packs from the series and by time I had done, I had turned four packets of cards into 36. Any doubt about my love of cards was eradicated that afternoon.

I continued to frequent that card shop after school just to watch other people open cards if I couldnít afford to buy any myself. As the years went on however, basketball cards waned in popularity and the store had to close. This caused me to stop collecting basketball cards for a while as I had no knowledge of eBay or online forums where people came together to trade.

I joined eBay in 2003 and slowly found my way back to basketball cards. I eventually took a bit of a risk and made a couple of purchases with sellers outside eBay and it paid off, I bought my first autograph cards (Wally Szczerbiak), which to me at the time just seemed astounding, the hobby had changed so much! More importantly I was given a link to an Australian sports card forum where I could buy, sell and trade.

I made some good friends at the forum and it helped me focus my collection. At first I just went crazy buying just about anything that looked good, but it meant my collection was very scattered. I chose to focus on my Isaiah Rider, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury and Timberwolves team collections. Since then they have pretty much remained my focus as I have broadened my collecting horizons by joining online communities like Sports Card Forum.

Thatís the story of how my collecting has evolved, but thatís only part of the story. The fact is that card collecting was the most innocent joyous thing I had in my childhood. Memories like trading Michael Jordan cards for Gary Payton; holding on for dear life to my shoebox of cards as I was flipped onto my back by a friend who threw a tantrum (scary at the time, but just a part of life) and buying my first numbered Isaiah Rider card. Outside of cards, life just wasnít that great.

Move forward as a young adult and dealing with everything life has to throw at me, seeking refuge in this hobby has kept me sane. To be able to hold on to something from a more innocent time, it just brings me to a happier place when needed. All it takes is one mail day and I can be beaming for a week, even if all I received were a few base cards for the Timberwolves collection.

I am truly grateful to all the good people I have met while being involved in this hobby. People that know there is more to the hobby than making a buck; people whom just like me are more than happy to help somebody out, simply because they can.

For the record, my Minnesota Timberwolves collection recently surpassed 2800. To those who have helped me get there, thanks for the memories.

09-28-2010, 01:56 AM