Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cardboard Masterpieces, Pt. 9

2010 Topps #339 Jose Reyes

The beginning of this post is a telling of a recent uplifting story from my school experience this semester. I always enjoy when bloggers give a little insight into their lives outside of baseball cards. Nothing too personal, of course, but something to show us who they are outside of their blog.

I hadn't done anything like this for a while, but I'd like to now. It will eventually tie in with the absolutely awesome card shown above. Enjoy!

I was the recipient of some good news the other day.

For the second straight semester, I achieved what a lot of students could only hope for. Something that seemed impossible to me a couple months ago.

Straight A's.

It seemed impossible because I had to take a math class this semester. Math is far and away my worst subject. Unlike a couple other classes I've taken at college, this one was no cakewalk.

The class started with 35 students. By the time finals came around, it was down to 13. Almost two-thirds of the kids had dropped it. I didn't do so hot on the first exam or two, but I stuck with it. 

I had worked my way back up to a "B" when mid-term grades were released. I felt lucky to have that, because while I did the homework and showed up every day, the exams still proved to be a challenge.

Before I knew it, it was finals week. I had the "A" pretty much locked up in all my other classes. I went in to the math one simply hoping to do well enough to maintain my "B".

The day before the final, our teacher had told us that he intentionally chose more difficult questions for our exams. I was a bit confused and angry at the same time. I had one question.


I found out the answer to that question when it was time to take the final. While our other exams had taken me almost two hours to finish, I was done with this one in a half-hour. It was then I realized why my teacher had intentionally made our exams more difficult.

While I hadn't done too great on the tests, I did actually learn from them. The questions on our final might not have seemed so easy to other students, whose teachers had allowed them to coast through the semester without much preparation for what lay ahead. 

I turned in my final and thought maybe, just maybe, that test could bump me up to an "A". I didn't mind a "B", but getting an "A" in something like math would be a huge boost.

A few nights ago, I logged on to my student account to see if my final grades had been posted yet. They had. And under the "Final Grades" column stood four A's, and nothing else. I had done it.

The anticipation that had led up to that moment was not unlike what both Jose Reyes and the Marlins' third baseman (I can't make out who it is) are going through at the time of this photo. (Thank you for sticking through the non-baseball card part of this post.)

From what I can tell, there was a close play at third. There are close plays in every baseball game. And every time that happens, the final judgment lays with one person.

The umpire.

Reyes is about to get some good news. He's safe. A deep sense of relief comes every time you see the ump make that familiar "safe" call. I've only experienced it in Little League, but I'm sure it translates to all levels of baseball.

My "A" was the equivalent to the "safe" sign. There's nothing wrong with a "B", but they're not my goals as a student. 

I had "snuck in under the tag", as they say. My final exam turned out to be the grade that boosted me up into "A" territory.

As for the card itself, I'd rank it among the best of the last five years or so. I've mentioned before that third base is criminally underused when it comes to baseball cards, yet a lot of the ones I've seen are spectacular.

Speaking of which, if Topps wants to make me happy, they'll do two things.

a) They'll include my favorite Cub, Tony Campana, in one of their upcoming sets.
b) They'll use this picture. (I saw that live.)

But even though Reyes successfully made it to third base, his job isn't done. He still needs to score.

My job isn't done yet either. I've got another challenge waiting for me next semester.


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