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“A Cardboard Weekend of Firsts—The Brotherly Love Card Show and Topps RIP Night.” Part—2

Updated: Jul 2

My Hobby Blog/Vlog Story of the Month details the sights and sounds of a weekend of Hobby 1st and my personal and vulnerable exploration of what these two experiences meant to me, how they have shaped my collecting journey as a Black Collector, and how I can help move the hobby forward in becoming more accessible and inclusive. 


On the morning of February 24th, I woke up to the sound of my preset phone alarm with cardboard nostalgia on my mind—Today Was The Day! As I walked to the back door to let the family dogs out, the weather was just right (i.e., the perfect winter weather to enjoy being outside) for a train ride into downtown Philadelphia. After letting the dogs back into the house, I went upstairs to wake up my sidekick. However, as I made my way up the steps, the sounds of Skylar’s Alexa playing kids' bop music signaled that Skylar was already preparing for our trip. Seeing my sidekick already up was a good sign that our day of enjoying the first-ever card show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center would be magical because my baby girl is not a morning person. 


Skylar’s positive energy was on one hundred as we prepared for our outing. The rapid-fire-twenty-one-questions and beyond that Skylar began to ask me about our trip to the Pennsylvania Convention Center felt like the non-stop action in Contra’s SnowField Stage 5. While washing my face, I could only smile and embrace the moment Skylar and I had in the bathroom and throughout our morning of preparation. When it came time to leave for the 9:18 AM train, my adrenaline was through the roof as we made a mad dash to the North Hills Station. The two-minute mad dash to North Hills Station felt like one of the many over-the-top action scenes from the movie Cranked—I was in full-go mode because I did not want to miss the train!


Even though we were running behind, miraculously, when we arrived at North Hills Station, the automated announcement reported that the 9:18 AM train to Center City Philadelphia was five minutes late. Hearing this automated message as Skylar and I stood on the platform holding hands brought joy to my mind and heart—it was a travel crisis diverted! When the train arrived at the magical time of 9:23 AM, the nostalgia of what would happen forty minutes after arriving at the Pennsylvania Convention Center consumed my mind and heart. While Skylar and I took our seats, it was hard to contain the joy that permeated my body. I considered sharing my nostalgic thoughts with Skylar; however, I knew she would not be interested in hearing me unpack what she and I were about to experience. So, instead of boring my sidekick with nostalgic cardboard stories from my childhood or what this experience meant to me as a Black collector and Father. I decided to enjoy our daddy-daughter moment through Skylar’s POV as she looked out the window and resumed her rapid-fire twenty-one questions and beyond. 


The regional rail train ride into Jefferson Station was memorable but quick despite the train being five minutes late. As Skylar and I made our way up the Jefferson Station escalator, the anticipation of this hobby dream come true moment began to sink in. The only thing I could envision as Skylar coerced/sweet-talked me into spending over seventy dollars on her at Claire's was the magical walk through the Fashion District Food Court to the stairway that leads to the Pennsylvania Convention Center grand lobby entrance. When Skylar and I stepped foot into the grand lobby of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, I felt like a kid in a candy store despite not yet being surrounded by sports cards. Before Skylar and I made our way up the escalator to the Brotherly Love Card Show, I immortalized the moment by taking a picture of Skylar standing in the center of the grand lobby with the upper-level ballroom in the background—this moment with my sidekick was nostalgic and magical. 


Skylar at the entrance of the Grand Ballroom in the

 Pennsylvania Convention Center for The Brotherly Love Card Show.


The beginning of this cardboard experience with Skylar was a true “One-of-One” cardboard moment that I will never forget. Seeing Skylar smiling ear-to-ear with her arms raised in the air through the camera lens of my iPhone allowed me to fill an empty childhood void, all while living vicariously through the joy, excitement, and humor that permeated through her tall frame. This was the cardboard moment that I always wanted as a Black kid growing up in North Philly. The amount of personal gratitude I felt before I entered the Brotherly Love Card Show with my sidekick, Skylar Grace, is hard to describe. However, given the magnitude of this cardboard milestone, unbeknownst to me, the best of our cardboard experience was yet to come. 



To Be Continued…


Keep Collecting,


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