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An Appreciation of Hobby Communities Big and Small

Our synagogue, which if you have followed my musings for years, has a new rabbi this year, We as a synagogue were very fortunate to be able to hire a rabbi as there is a, you would never believe this, a shortage of rabbis available. Yes, this is another after effect of the pandemic as many pulpit rabbis left the profession as those were very tough years for them to connect with their average congregant.

Having a new rabbi is always exciting to see what their ideas were and when what is called the High Holy Days come in the calendar, the d'var torahs (sermons) they give during these services are the most important ones they will do during the calendar year. They have their biggest audience and these also set up where they want to try to steer the congregation for the year.

As I type this, last night was the first night of Rosh Hashanah, and the Rabbi had a sermon based on how almost any congregation outside a metropolitan area will be by its nature nowhere as much as a community as the ones which service metropolitan areas which have a large preponderance of people near their temple.

Of course, you could ask what this has to do with sports cards. Well, in many ways, sports cards and collectibles are also a microcosm of this effect. When I started collecting and dealing back in the day. we all basically collected the same cards and had the same goals. Those goals did diverge once you got outside the Topps and Bowman realm but most of us collected the same cards. It's not just cards which has become much more diverse. When I was growing up, we were fortunate enough to have 10 television stations in the NY area and if you were in New York City you might even have cable.

Radio was primarily an AM function and while FM sounded better the expense of FM radios was too costly for many people. People read newspapers as smart phones were a long way off. So what we have today in life and in sports cards are really more micro communities than ever before. We're not all collecting the same cards, the same players or even the same sports anymore.

If you attend a trade night, and I do at some of the local stores, you will see more pelican cases per square foot than people who might know why we liked to collect Darnell Hillmann or Oscar Gamble 1970's cards.

Back in the day when the dealers got together as a group. they were in what was called hospitality rooms where collecting stories and big trades went back and forth You would hear stories about their favorite purchases or some of the interesting people they met along the way. In many ways, today's trade nights are very similar to the old hospitality rooms and its fun to see the horse trading. There are some people at these trade nights who pull a few cards for me and I sometimes walk out with a purchase. If that fails, I usually get free pizza and drinks. There was one funny instance where the young man behind the counter made a comment about these donations being in the way. I said those cards are for me. He checked with the owner and sure enough the owner confirmed what I said. So I walked out of that store with more cards than anyone else that evening.

So, you know what, it's Ok to have these micro communities and break into their small groups. One of the great things about many of the web and pod casts is the people who listen to those are also their own micro community.

So, let's appreciate what we have and our similarities and our differences.


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