Tick, tick, tick. As the second hand knifes mercilessly around the clock without getting any closer to official Tuukka Time, it’s hard not to start climbing the walls over this garbage lockout. Filling time is a necessity when the rinks are shut down, the Sox are old news, and the Pats only roll over opponents once every other week.
So what to do? Basketball hasn’t started yet, and even so, reeks of desperation (think Montreal Canadiens floppers in Air Lafluer’s). The “Hot Stove” has a pilot light out and the repair man won’t be in until 2013. You could take up autumn seasonal decorating and head down with mother to the local crap fair. “Oh look dear! A rustic, ornamental Birch and cone centerpiece!”
Please. Save your manhood. Just because your favorite players aren’t on the ice, doesn’t mean you can’t grab a piece of the action. For the distraught fan needing just a glimpse of their favorite players there is a solution. Hockey card collecting.
Even though a lockout may be holding things back, trading card companies have already created, printed, and shipped their product for the upcoming season. Sitting on store shelves, just there for the taking are all your favorite B’s. Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin, Shawn Thornton. Even the absent(minded) Tim Thomas is sure to appear! If you’ve got young children, even better. It’s a hobby you can both do together, heading out to the store, tearing into packs, and shreiking like it’s Christmas when one of you stumbles upon a black and gold clad player (buyer beware, those darn Penguins uniforms can look awful close at first blush). To get you started, here are a few of the basics.
Location, location, location: Grabbing a pack can be as easy as heading to your local Walmart. Somewhere in that mega store is a small section for trading cards. Look past the baseball heroes and toss aside the magic cards to get what your after. If you’re looking for a little more variety, try a hobby shop or the sports store at the mall. They’ll likely have a broader selection, and some will also sell whole boxes, complete sets, and interesting singles. You’re also pretty much guaranteed that missing Gregory Campbell from your collection. Nothing like tearing into a whole box of cards to see what pops up… or paying a few extra bucks for an early 90’s Ray Bourque. Lastly, there are cards on the internet, but buyer beware, it’s easy to counterfeit and some sales can be deceptive.
Last time, on hoarders…: The easiest and most accessible storage option is an old shoebox. Pile the cards up and slide em under your bed. If you’re looking to keep your cards nicer, or can’t sacrifice nudie magazine space, try grabbing some protective pages and a three ring binder. They sell nice ones with sports logos on them, but really any binder will do. The old man used to bring home huge ones from work, toss the junk he didn’t need in the trash, and hand the binders off to the kids. Stores also sell single cases and various other display units, some of which you can pop up on the wall, to showcase your faves. A full collection of Bruins can also make a great bar topper.
F150 or Mustang?: Just like vehicles, there are all sorts of brand names, models, and makes. For the most part, keep things simple. Upper Deck and Fleer have a reputation for having nice, crisp pictures. Topps and O-Pee-Chee use a simple design and has gone back to a cardboard base, giving it that old time feel. If you’re looking to make money, there are more expensive buys out there. You’ll get about 5 cards for a steep price, but they may be rarer and worth more one day. Cheaper options will be mass produced and worth allot less, but your money will go farther and you can amass quantity. If you’re looking to build a collection, especially with just Bruins, this is probably your best option.
Why so serious, Son?: Most of all, just have fun with it. Grab your kid or a buddy and just start going to town. Buy up a few packs, trade your doubles, and look for a way to incorporate your faves into your man cave. It may seem a little silly at times, but looking back twenty years later, it’s nice to have stacks of authentic Cam Neely and Ray Bourque cards from their primes. Plus, you’re the decider. Got an affinity for Danielle Paille? It’s your choice to keep his card and display it proudly. Everyone’s got a Lucic or a Seguin something or other. How many guys can say they’ve got a Glen Murray rookie… or Lyndon Byers in his prime? These are your Bruins, remember them how you want to.