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Are you an avid collector of sports memorabilia? If so, what you're going to hear next is going to make you take up a new hobby, perhaps sword swallowing. I now have my own football trading card.
Sadly, this is true. Donruss has a series of cards called Fans of the Game, and this year they asked me if I'd like to be on one. They said my picture and my alltime favorite team (the extinct Los Angeles Rams) would be on it. This is a sickening trend in trading cards: putting nonathletes on them and causing 10-year-old boys everywhere to puke up their Skittles.
Last year, for instance, Topps put out a series of World Treasures that included Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana. The only card signed by the Pope went for $10,400 on eBay last weekend.
I broke the news about my card to my 16-year-old daughter while trailing five feet behind her at the mall. "Rae, your dad is going to have his own football card!" I yelled up.
And she whispered back to me, "Dad, you promised to keep a gap between us at the mall! In case my friends see me!"
"There is a gap between us!"
"No! A Gap store."
O.K., the kids weren't impressed. But when I was a boy, my collection of baseball and football cards were my life. I'd put them in three shoe boxes according to worth--KEEP, FLIP, and KNIFE.
Keeps were any Ram or totally cool player, like Joe Namath (who wound up being both). Flips were ammunition for lunchtime games of Match It, which you could play as long as the nuns didn't catch you and match you with the school paddle. And the Knife cards were doomed to be thumbtacked to the door of the bedroom--laundry room my brother, John, and I shared. He could stand 10 feet away and flip his pocketknife so that it stuck in the door. I can remember his sticking the Baltimore Colts' John Mackey in the right eye, a feat so amazing that Mackey remained pegged to the door for nearly a month, a hapless one-eyed Jack.
And then, 37 years later, my brother is waking me out of my daydream with a phone call.