Monday, December 3, 2018

Dime Boxes: The high school years

There seems to be a wave of nostalgia floating around the blogs right now -- or at least more than usual.

By way of a couple excellent packages I've recently received from Kerry of "Cards on Cards" fame, I thought I'd get in on the action and give you a glimpse at the high school years of yours truly, Dime Box Nick. It's really not much of a story, and my teenage years don't deviate greatly from the norm -- I was a shy, awkward teen who didn't register much on the high school totem pole. And I was generally happy about that.

But unlike a lot of people who strayed from cards in their adolescence only to come back to them later, I collected all throughout high school -- I spent many a US History class daydreaming about binders and nine-pocket pages.

Night Owl sent the nostalgia train running in my head, but Mr. Fuji wrote a post recently that got me to thinking about the literary travels of my high school years.

For those who don't know, I majored in English in college and loved every minute of it. I spend almost as much on books as on cards these days. But unlike cards, I didn't really get into reading until a couple years ago thanks to a gen-ed college English course I randomly enrolled in as a schedule filler.

I can't help but think that I might've come to love literature a lot sooner had my high school reading list been better. We read a few solid "classics" (Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby), but most of our reading was comprised of books I didn't like and/or had no impact on me. I didn't discover many of the greats until well into my college years (Brave New World, Invisible Man) and some I had to pick up all on my own (Fahrenheit 451). 

Also, I must admit: I've never read Walden -- the canonized nature walk featured on that excellent A&G insert from Kerry (along with Steel Worker Dude!).

I was a voracious collector in high school, but I sure didn't collect the same way I do now -- my ability to create want lists, for one, was scattered at best, which means I regularly come across cards from my high school years (2006-10) that I still need.

My want lists are far from perfect these days, but at least I have a general handle on what I have and need from newer sets -- makes things a whole lot easier for people like Kerry who are nice enough to peruse them.

Back in high school, I collected a certain crop of players and that was it -- I almost never decided to induct new dudes into my binders.

Had I still collected that way, chances are none of these cards (and dozens of others) would've ended up in my collection, and that'd be a darn shame.

Jim Abbott is one of those few players who I've actively collected all throughout my youth, adolescence, and (relative) adulthood -- Kerry added a new Abbott to my binders with that Stadium Club gold parallel.

Mini-collections weren't a thing for me in high school, and it wouldn't be until much later that I'd even think about starting to chase cards of guys turning double plays (all the wasted years!).

One of the biggest differences between high school me and present me is the simple fact that I have a blog, and send and receive many cards to and from so many terrific collectors.

Much of my youth was spent on the trading forums, which in relation to the blogs is like having a tape deck in your car. The forums made me happy at the time, but looking back, I kinda wish I had all the time and money I spent on those trades back. Book-value-for-book-value swaps (what a card "books" for is the forums' national anthem) are extremely dull and time-consuming, no way for a teenager to spend his youth.

Good luck getting anyone to send you stuff like Acuna and Soto rookies (and not to mention a slew of other 2018 Archives needs) out of the graciousness of one's heart on the forums, like Kerry did here on the wonderful world that is the blogosphere.

I bought so many packs of new stuff in high school -- and while I might still buy more than I should these days, at least the knowledge that most of the commons will eventually fall into my binders via trades and dime boxes curtails some of that excess spending.

One thing remains the same, however: The Sandlot is still my all-time favorite movie, and has been since I was about five or six years old.

That's why it was such a joy to complete this year's Sandlot insert set from Archives, (with a big assist from Kerry for sending me these two!) -- it's a good reminder that not everything has to change as one moves into adulthood.

I'm not actively chasing these Sandlot coins, but I'll most definitely take any I can get my hands on, like this "Ham" coin Kerry was nice enough to send my way.

Mine, I suppose, is a common tale. There are things I miss about high school (friendships, study hall) and other things I most assuredly don't (algebra class, pep rallies). There are things I wish I would've done (read!) and other things I wish I wouldn't (don't ask). I don't know if nostalgia is the right word for how I feel about high school: I think of it more as just a general interest in watching time pass.

But as I look back, I'm forever grateful that the collecting bug stuck with me -- who knows where my collection would be now had I wasted those precious teenage years on petty distractions like football games and broken hearts, right?


Mike said...

Im so glad we can share enthusiasms like baseball and literature,boy...and cool Hambino coin!

Fuji said...

Great post. I always enjoy posts where people reminisce. It gives me a chance to reminisce myself.

Jon said...

I'm all for this current wave of nostalgia that's making the rounds, it's just too bad that it's probably not going to be sticking around very along...

Jafronius said...

Fahrenheit 451 is a good read. I have a copy signed by Ray Bradbury when he came to the U of I campus back in my college days.

Chris said...

I like how you integrated the nostalgia theme with the new cards you received. "I was a shy, awkward teen who didn't register much on the high school totem pole." could be the opening sentence of my reminiscence post. Also I haven't read nearly as many classic novels as I should-Fahrenheit 451 is neat the top of my 'to read' list.

Timothy Thomas said...

I wish I had kept collecting with any regularity throughout my HS/college/early adult years. What brought me back was finally having my own house and going to my parents to pick up some of my possessions. Seeing all my old cards haphazardly stored in their basement made me want to organize them all if only to see what I had. Well, going through them made me nostalgic for collecting and finding your blog gave me a new and unique outlook on collecting. Happy to say I'm back in the game and loving it.