Each year around this time, the National rolls around and the industry gears up for its biggest weekend on the calendar. Manufacturers break out the big guns to be there, wanting to show off new products and new innovations, and collectors turn out in droves to see what is coming down the pipeline. There is also the biggest card show in the nation, with thousands of dealers setting up to sell everything from action figures to rare vintage cards. The national is the San Diego Comic-con of Sports Cards, and even the national media starts to pay attention when it goes down.
Last year at this time, my life was still normal. I was at work, watching the National unfold from my computer, wishing I could ditch my conference to be in attendence with the rest of the collecting world. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to be there the next time it came around, at least if everything continued as it had been with SCU. Well, SCU has definitely continued, but my life was turned absolutely on its ear in the matter of a few short months. We found out my wife was pregnant about a month after last year’s show ended, I had surgery, and we moved to San Antonio in one of the craziest periods of my life I have ever experienced. Now, with my priorities changed, I will again be watching the events from behind my computer screen.
This time, its different, as the money needed to go would take away from other essential things that I need to do for my family. First, Noah is still not sleeping through the night, and to leave him for a weekend with my wife would be torturous for her already sleep deprived existence. He requires constant attention (as most babies his age do), and that is not fair to my wife to shoulder that kind of burden for me to attend a card show. Secondly, the money I would need to attend would prevent us from taking Noah home to Minnesota to see his grandparents, aunts and uncles for Thanksgiving, and that is never something I would give up, even for the biggest card show in the history of the planet. Family comes first to me, and although I personally regret not being able to be there, its something that needs to be done. Next year, who knows.
As for the show itself, there is going to be loads of hobby wide participation from the usual suspects and some new attendees. Rob from VOTC will be there again, with or without his infamous shirt, the gals from A Cardboard Problem will also be in attendence, Chris from Stale Gum has already started his prep, and Freedom Card Board will be having live video so that everybody, everywhere can see everything going on. There will also be a number of other bloggers from the area making the trip, and I am confident that they will do a wonderful job providing the coverage that I am unable to provide. Be sure to check them out.
The main thing is that Im not sure if the National Card Show is even a place for me at this point. The last time I went to a card show, I spent most of the time arguing with clueless dealers about the obvious fake autos and patches they were selling. Due to my crusader personality, its hard for me to let them take advantage of people, even if its just for a few bucks. With thousands of dealers there, including the king of the asshats, Kevin Burge, Im sure there would be problems with me walking the floor. Because I am a complete and utter wuss when it comes to physical confrontation, I don’t think that would be a very good situation to throw myself into a situation like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be a part of the conversation there, especially getting to meet all the bloggers and readers that I converse with every day. This site has become such a huge part of my life, that I would jump at the opportunity to put faces to the names. That type of experience is the reason that collectors need to go to this show, if not only for the community aspect of the whole thing. Its definitely not the best place to buy cards and boxes that they could easily find on eBay for lower prices, unless you collect cards that eBay doesn’t lend itself very well to, but there will be more collectors in one place than during any other time this year. It’s a crazy time at the national, and the experience of going is always more about the people you meet rather than the cards that you buy in most cases.
Listen, I get it. Maybe this post is more about me providing a cathartic experience to calm my remorse of not being able to go, and Im sure there will be lots of hate stalkers out there who will try to let me know how glad they are about it, but right now, all the normal people will definitely identify with what is going on in my life. I hope everyone has a blast, and I know I will have some scouts in the crowd looking for a few things I need to pick up.
Because of the obvious lack of coverage that will be eminating from this site, if you are a reader, and would like to contribute a detailed post of your experiences at the national, I am offering this space as your canvas. Email me at the contact link above with your proposal, and if it fits the content of this site, I will be happy to post it for the readers here to see. Hopefully the experiences of like minded collectors will be informative for those planning a trip to the show next year.
Good luck to those who are going, ill be watching with a bittersweet smile on my face. In the future, I hope there will be an opportunity for all of us to get together, hopefully at a National show in the coming years. Stay tuned to SCU for all the second hand news you can stomach from the floor, as I will not hesitate to report on it from here in San Antonio.
Oh, I almost forgot. If someone happens to come across one of the giveaways that feature any of the Minnesota Vikings, im all ears as expected.