I started collecting cards when I was about 10 years old in the mid-80s. I remember going to Bob’s News (back when there were places that sold magazines, newspapers, candy, and most importantly trading cards) with about 90 cents to buy two packs of Topps football cards. The place smelled of tobacco from the cigars and cigarettes also sold there. As I got older, I’d often ride my bike to the same little shop and pick up a refreshing drink, some candy, and a couple of packs of football cards then hop on the bike to head back home.
I’d open each pack hoping to snag a star quarterback of the day, like John Elway or Dan Marino or even better yet, one of my beloved Buffalo Bills. On the best days you’d pull a Jim Kelly card and be happy for a week. I also worked very hard to hand collect the sets, spending weeks, months and years to complete the checklist. And if I didn’t get lucky with a Jim Kelly card or the last card I needed to complete a set, I’d head back Bob’s News for one more pack.
After some years off, I got back to collecting in August 2015. And instead of a dollar and a couple of packs of cards, it’s become 50, 75, 100 dollars and hobby box of cards. And instead of some star base cards, it’s hoping to pull an autograph, game-used, or serial numbered card. But when I open a new pack and get a whiff of the cardboard it takes me back to being a 10 year old boy at Bob’s News with the smell of cigar tobacco and newspapers. I can’t help but want to open just one more pack.