Sports Card and Memorabilia Shows: Rules of Engagement
Let me start by introducing myself, I'm Brad. I love short walks on the beach, my favorite color is black and I am a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan (go ahead and insert Cowboys joke here). Now that we are family, come over to the house sometime and get a plate!
Sports card shows are getting fewer and far between. That's why on Saturday I was very excited to go to my first event in a while. It seemed somewhat promising with 100 tables and some past greats signing there. I set my alarm on Friday night, which never happens, but under the circumstances I mentally prepared myself for that annoying morning sound. After an epic battle with the snooze button, I got ready and set out on the road.
On the way down, I found myself dreaming of all the awesome moves I was going to make to land some massive hits for my collection. I made it to my destination and parked. As I started to walk up, I couldn't help but notice that there was a strange vibe in the air. I'm not one to judge, but there was a kid outside the front with a mowhawk, pierced lip and wearing the Hot Topic hate-my-parents, emo uniform. Was I even in the right place? I soon realized that only half of the venue was my sports show. The other side--the Reptile Expo!?! I'll be honest with you, though, it was cool to stand next to a 12-year-old with an iguana on his head. You just don't see that everyday. I paid my admission fee and went in.
Now before I go any further, I have four simple rules, or mantras, for a successful experience at these shows:
1) Just Do It
What I mean by this is sometimes you have to set your alarm on a Saturday, get your butt up and go. This is an opportunity to actually hold, inspect and see the condition of the card or memorabilia you plan to purchase, unlike buying online. You also get to see inventory that may not be available to you at your local hobby shop.
2) Have a Budget
I'm serious. It is very hard to admire and appreciate your fine collection without any lights because you blew the money you set aside for the electricity bill. If you're low on cash, you can always bring parts of your collection you are willing to part with to trade. Remember that vendors are collectors too.
3) Don't Blow Your Wad
Always do a walk through first. Don't become a spastic monkey and blow all of you dough on the first two tables you see. Take your time, take mental notes of items that interest you, then come back. You are only selling yourself short if you don't have patience.
4) Be Human
I know this may seem strange, but simply, just be yourself. Have a human interaction with the vendors you're interested in buying from. Find out where they are from, how long they have been collecting, their favorite team, things like that. You have a better shot at a fair price if you can connect with them on a personal level. Bottom line: Don't be weird.
As it all came to a close, I walked back out to my car feeling pretty good about my day. I purchased some fine pieces for my collection and even a few packs to rip for when I got home. I came in under budget so my lights can stay on for at least another month. These shows are always a unique experience. It reminds me that no matter if you are young or old, our hobby still catches the imagination of all. It's not perfect, but what is? I left with no regrets and it felt good. On second thought, maybe I should have asked the kid how much he wanted for the iguana.