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Hobby Participation Is Required

Sometimes, my biggest struggle with rookie cards is trying to get the older generation (for this article, I’m referring to hobbyists 40 years and older) to realize that it’s not 1984 anymore. I’m trying to convince them that rookie cards have evolved today. 

On the other hand, I sometimes struggle with younger hobbyists, too. I’m trying to explain to them that, technically, historically, not everything is a rookie card today. I try to be that middle-man or that voice of reason to bridge the old with the new and the new with the old. 

Recently, I was a guest on a popular YouTube channel, and one of the topics we touched on was Topps Baseball Series 1. I was taken aback by a couple of comments left on that particular video. Here’s what was said:

  • “Talk about negative Nancy’s. I like these parallels (Kevin Hart). Unsubscribed, OLD HEADS.”

  • “I’m so sick of these OLD guys in the hobby complaining about how things are going. Topps is trying to make it fun again, but you have the same old guys complaining that things are different. I’m over it! I’m unsubscribing. This is ridiculous, tired of the negativity!!!!”

Ouch! Right? Do you feel me here? This made me rewatch the video, and in my defense, I felt I was level-headed about it, so I thought I was being judged unfairly. Now, at this point, I had a decision to make.


  • I could make a reaction video by putting these two commenters in the judgment seat.

  • I could complain about how this young generation is ruining the hobby I love.

  • I could justify that episode by shifting blame on others and not accepting responsibility.

  • Or I could consider what’s been said as constructive criticism.  

Which would you choose? YouTube gurus always teach you to listen to your audience. I decided to zoom out and put myself in the viewer's seat. As I watched the video, I did not like what I saw! I’m intentional on being that voice of reason, that bridge per se that merges generations. But on this particular day, I fell a bit short. It came off as highly negative, in my opinion.

The most condemning part was that someone in the chat asked us during this live broadcast if we had opened up any Topps Baseball Series 1. All of us replied, no! When I noticed this during the replay, it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

We may have experience and knowledge, but perhaps we’ve lost that spirit of having fun. I believe this happens when we don’t participate. A vital component of any community is participation. You see, friends, this month I was reminded of an all-important hobby principle: HOBBY PARTICIPATION IS REQUIRED! 

I even see this error in many churches today. I am actively involved at my local church, and you’ll find complainers there, too. They’ll complain about the seats, the temperature, the music, the preaching, etc. They complain about outreach programs and special church events. However, a common denominator I’ve noticed is that these folks often do not participate. They don’t show up for functions, they’ll frequently reply with a no to volunteer, and when invited to partake in a function, it's a no-show.

As a result, we are disconnected from the community. When disconnected from the community, we complain and come off as negative and aggressive. I don’t believe it's an age thing, either. I see this disconnection from the community in all ages. We have to get involved to be connected. 

I had a chance to put this theory to the test. A couple of days after this hit me, I was reminded of an invitation I had from Rex, LCS, Owner of The Sports Card Shop in Valparaiso, IN. and New Lennox, MI. He had invited me to participate [emphasis mine] in the Topps Rip Night and gave me full permission to record footage and make a video.

So, I decided to take him up on his offer. It’s not my thing. It is a bit awkward to socialize with a younger crowd, ripping packs and talking cards. I’m kind of an introvert, but that’s no excuse. Get in the game, I told myself. For the record, I can be an extrovert with no problem. I just find it exhausting, LOL! I digress.

I’m glad I did, too! I had a great time because I decided to get involved in the hobby. It’s easy to complain, but it's hard to participate. However, hard things are often worth doing. 

Getting people involved in a community atmosphere may be a business strategy of Fanatics. If so, I say brilliant! My point? If this applies to you, it would be to our benefit to recapture the fun of yesterday by simply opening up a pack of cards and getting involved in the hobby. 

I don’t want this to be some sappy positivity post, either. By all means, be yourself. There’s no need to stick our heads in the sand, pretending everything is rainbows and unicorns. We should, by all means, call out injustices. But let’s pick and choose our battles. Everything shouldn’t be a war. If there is a wave of hobby feel-goods, let’s just ride that wave. Eventually, the waves subside, and then we can judge the experience. But to slingshot people having fun at the wave's peak is not good.

What did I learn this week? Let folks have fun in the hobby! The hobby is alive and active, and HOBBY PARTICIPATION IS REQUIRED!

Until next month,

Victor, The Rookie Card Specialist

Remember - not all rookie cards are created equal!


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