I have been asked “Why do you participate in breaks?” more times than I can count. The simple answer is because it’s the easiest way to get my hands on Texas Rangers cards. However, there is more to it than that. Since there are others like myself who may have not really known about this online collecting phenomena, I thought I would share my experience and hopefully shed some light on why other collectors enjoy case breaks, too.
I know, I know, why in the world does a girl collect sports cards anyway? Seriously, I know all too well that is what many folks say. So, I thought I'd share a bit about myself to help you understand how I got here.
I grew up just down the road from a little baseball field known as Arlington Stadium, where I had the opportunity to watch young talent develop into All-Stars and even some Hall of Famers. It is because of this I have collected baseball cards since I was a kid. There is just something about pulling your favorite player’s card from a pack! As my age increased, so did the price of trading cards. Although, I must admit they have improved beyond my childhood imaginations. Of course, with all of the different types of sets being produced in the industry, collecting became more of a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime. That is until I received a mysterious invitation via Twitter.
The thing about loving baseball, or any sport, and being female, is that it presents a unique…situation. This can be even more problematic in the hobby community, which made me wary of the invitation to the “Ladies Night Charity Break.” This was also the first time I’d thought about buying a spot in a break, too.
Before I go any further, I’ll add that I’m only speaking from my own personal experiences and not on behalf of female collectors everywhere. I understand that not every woman has run into situations that I have, as I realize not every male in The Hobby has disdain for female sports fans. (Oh, the stories I could tell that would surely have you shaking your head, but we’ll save those for another time.)
Despite being a longtime collector, I never thought that I should or would participate in group breaks. Why? See above. Okay, that is only part of the reason. To be completely honest, I didn’t trust the process. I’m handing over my hard-earned money (via PayPal, usually) to a complete stranger online, and not only am I trusting this person/site to actually bust the boxes live for me to watch, but then I’m expecting them to ship my cards? Seemed too good to be true. This is a joke, right? Turns out, the joke was on me because not only did all of those things happen, it was also very fun!
Admittedly, I was skeptical. I looked through a lot of Tweets, comments on the Crackin’ Wax site, and then watched a few breaks on their YouTube channel. Sure enough, this seemed legit. So, I decided to go for it! Now that you know a little about me and how I found my way into a group break, it’s time for the play-by-play of my first break.
What: Ladies' Night Charity Mixer
I had no idea what a "mixer" was. Honestly, I thought it was meant as a social gathering. However, when I went to purchase my team slot, I soon realized mixer is common terminology in the world of case breaks that refers to the host breaking different products as part of one larger break. As it turns out, most group breaks bust only one product, but this was a little different.
Product and Price
Admittedly, I wasn't too thrilled with the mixture of products. I'm quite picky but this was for charity after all, and it only set me back $48 for all the Rangers cards in the lot. Below is a list of all 10 baseball boxes opened that evening:
- 2004 Upper Deck Prospects
- 2006 Topps Rookies '52
- 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces
- 2009 Topps Unique
- 2013 Bowman Baseball
- 2013 Panini Elite Extra Edition
- 2014 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects
- 2014 Topps Archives Baseball
- 2014 Topps Heritage High Number
- 2014 Topps High Tek Baseball
That is a lot of product to bust! Not only that, the possibilities, oh the possibilities of getting a few of my favorite Rangers, like Nolan Ryan, Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Yu Darvish, Rougned Odor, and last but definitely not least, Adrian Beltre!
I'll admit I'm rather shy and was nervous leading up to the break. No, it wasn't in-person. No, I didn't have to participate in the break chat. But, once I tuned into Google+ Hangouts to watch, I immediately felt at ease. The packs started opening and seeing the hits, even if they weren't mine, gave me collecting chills. It was exciting to watch and everyone in the chat high-fived (virtually, of course) and congratulated each other on awesome pulls. Never underestimate the importance of the group break experience.
After the Break
Unsure of what to expect once the actual break had ended, I was pleasantly surprised when several other collectors found and followed me on Twitter. I suddenly had a group of trading card enthusiasts to trade and converse with who actually cared about my favorite Beltre card! Then, the best part: within a week I received a small white box. Inside, I found every single base card, sorted by product and in numerical order, and finally sealed together in a team bag. Additionally, any autograph or relic pulled was placed inside a sleeve, then into a toploader for extra protection.
See, the thing about group breaks is that they can provide much more than cards, although, if that is the only thing you want, that's okay. It's also good to realize that the group break experience is different for everyone. Just like in sports, two people watching the same game can experience it in multiple ways, but both can find it enjoyable. I highly recommend that every collector participates in at least one group break because all it took was one for me to find another way to pursue my collecting passion, and at a discounted price!
Still curious about group breaks? Check out other resources available with our detailed Group Break Guides.
What was your first or most memorable group break experience? Let us know in the comments below!
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