Monday, November 13, 2023

I Bought Some Hockey Cards!

As readers of the blog are aware, I for a long time had zero interest in sports. Some years ago I did find myself getting into Hockey. Unlike other athletic pursuits, Hockey kept my attention. After all, Football had too much starting and stopping. Basketball only got interesting in the last few minutes. Soccer kind of was fun to watch but lacked something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Golf was boring as Hell. Rugby was confusing. The list went on. That said, Hockey was different. It was fast. It had agility and grace yet was a bit brutal too with the players crashing into each other and sometimes fighting.  Around 2016/2017 I started watching NHL hockey a bit more and then in 2019 my local team, the Saint Louis Blues, won the Stanely Cup and that was incredible. Since then I have continued to enjoy hockey and thought I would try something I'd never done before in my 35 years of life: I bought some sports cards.

Back when I was young I dabbled in Pokemon cards but I sold them before the market crashed (and then came roaring back decades later with those cards now worth even more, but so is life). I never really fiddled with, "Magic: The Gathering," as I knew to build a good deck to play with you can spend an absurd amount of money. I might try, "Magic," in the future with Marvel-themed cards on the way, however. All of that said, I like Hockey so why not get some Hockey cards? I will tell you that sports cards are a lot more complex than you might suspect.

Where to even start?

These days you can buy some sports cards at a retail store or a hobby shop, but generally a hobby shop will have the better boxes/packs of cards. I am aware that Baseball and Basketball cards can be absurdly expensive, but Hockey thankfully is a bit more of a niche in sports cards and less pricey when it comes to buying packs, boxes, or even sought-after single cards. I did some research about sports cards in general online and learned how among your regular ol' cards you can get ones that have limited numbering, autographs, and even pieces of game-worn jerseys! When you get a special card that is a, "Hit," and you never know what you might get. 

One nice thing is you can get a common card of almost any player for dirt cheap, so it is easy to make a set of basic cards with your favorite players. When you're looking for the rare variants that have those autographs or pieces of clothes that's when things can be pricey if you're out buying single cards. I did a bunch of research on sports cards and was ready to buy some Hockey cards from a hobby shop, but where could I go to find someone patient with a sports card newbie like me? Thankfully, I found a cool local place.

Sports Card Market is located in Manchester, Missouri, and not too far a drive for me at all. I called them one day and explained that when it came to comic books I knew a ton but in regards to sports cards I was pretty green. They talked with me for a good 15-20 minutes on the phone reviewing with me what I had read online as I asked a variety of questions. I went in the next day and the kind employees there showed me various options of cards to buy, discussed what was interesting about different kinds, and helped me settle on buying an, "Artifacts," box as it sounded the most fun and I had read good things about the line on the internet. I cannot emphasize how patient they were with me as I asked a metric ton of questions about sports cards. I took home my Artifacts box, opened it up, and got some cool stuff!

My box had several, "Hits," with the coolest thing probably being a Kent Johnson card featuring a piece of jersey material and an autograph of which only 10 cards were produced out of thousands of other cards. I was perfectly happy to get some, "Worthless," cards as well of players I like such as Jordan Kyrou, too, but it was really neat to get some rare stuff. It is fun to be able to own cards featuring players you like and even snazzier when you have an autograph or piece of jersey. It is a cool way to feel extra connected to a sport I enjoy. I would recommend that if you want to buy sports cards of any kind you visit the folks at Sports Card Market either in person or buy from them online as they'll ship anywhere in the U.S. too! Oh, and please note they aren't paying me to promote them or anything (I don't have any affiliate links or such), I just really appreciate how nice they were to me as I slowly got an understanding of how sports cards work these days with all the, "Parallels," cards that you redeem online, and so forth.

Quite the, "Hit," I'd say!

It was fun buying Hockey cards and I plan to buy more in the future. I can see how it can be a pricey hobby though, so I'll have to practice moderation in the same manner I do with comics. I want to again thank the good people at Sports Card Market for their assistance as I bought my first-ever cards and I'm excited to continue watching Hockey and collecting cards!

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