Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sports Cards: Thieves Of Youth

In my closet I have at least a dozen boxes of sports cards. Collecting baseball, football and basketball cards was a passion from age 11 to 14, and as I saw it at the time, a shrewd investment. Sure, it would take every bit of my allowance and free time to buy, sort and protect the cards, but it was all for a higher cause. I was certain that they would one day be worth a bunch of money, like the Mickey Mantle cards from the 50s and whatnot. At age 11, for instance, I theorized that I would be able to sell the cards for enough money to buy a car at age 16.

That prediction turned out to be true, if it was a Hot Wheels car I was looking for. Maybe I could have even bought a whole set of them, with a plastic track and pretend fire station to boot. But alas, my cards have lost most of the value they had 16 years ago. Now I would be lucky to be able to exchange all 100,000 or so I've got for a single Matchbox car.

The problem is nobody kept their cards from the 50s. They used them as bike wheel noisemakers and only the few hoarders who were lucky enough to not have their moms throw out the cards with the rest of their childhood junk were able to cash in. People from my era just kept their cards with the expectation that they would one day be worth something, rendering them worthless.

So now my shoeboxes of cards are stacked high in my closet, as precarious as a booby trapped Indiana Jones temple. I can never flip through them and reminisce, because to do so would likely trigger an avalanche and cause my death. I haven't looked at the cards since I moved into my house 7 years ago, and can't say for sure whether or not they're actually still up there. For all I know, they could have disintegrated, been eaten by moths or been stolen by a cat burglar who bypassed all my stuff in search of my 1990 Donruss complete set. If such a thief did rob me, I hope he at least left me my Cecil Fielder autograph and box of old Nintendo Powers.

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