By Drew Hall aka Batman72

I recall the day being quite brisk with a swift breeze and overcast grey sky. I was on my way to an interview for a job I didn’t want. It turned out that the feeling was mutual. But my true discouragement would lie with my next destination.

I had been out of work for a good three months. I had quit my previous job out of necessity. Being overworked and underpaid had taken its toll on me. The consequences came gradually. First it was the frustration of waiting by the phone for a potential employer to call. Then with the few that did call came my inability to impress. With my bank account depleted I began living off of my credit card. When it was time to pay my credit card, I then realized the reality of the situation.

Collecting football cards was my one true hobby. I recall the excitement in my youth that came with my trips to the card shop. It was a retreat I looked forward to during an otherwise troubling time. I would spend hours studying the players and their stats. I loved organizing them and completing sets. They provided for me a healthy escape. Cards helped me dream and hope, and they kept me out of trouble. And now after many years of neglect and being ignored, boxed up in the back of my closet, they would become my final lifeline. After my irrelevant interview my final destination was my childhood card shop. It was suitable that the trek would be difficult. The snow caught me by surprise. The trip became treacherous as the roads became slick. How fitting it was. As a result my drive took much longer than anticipated. Plenty of time for me to think and consider what I was about to do. No relief came. I would succumb to my dilemma and justify it with desperation. I would sell off my entire childhood football card collection for a mere $150.

When I reflect back on that day I think, “how stupid could I be!” My collection was worth more than that! The sentimental value was worth even more! I guess we sometimes need to do things we don’t want to do out of necessity. That $150 helped me make the minimum payment on my credit card for the coming months. I kept my car and I paid the rent. It provided until I found a job. That job that would turn into a career, and a career that would provide for my future family.

I have since tried to rebuild that childhood collection. Building back up those ‘80s Topps Sets, those late ‘80s Score and Pro Sets, and the early ‘90s Upper Deck and Pacific Sets. I’ve been mocked because of it. “Who collects that stuff anymore?” they say. “All that late ‘80s and early ‘90s stuff is a bunch of garbage” I hear. Not in my case. They provided so much for me. And maybe now I can return the favor.