Updated: Nov 13
My Short Hobby Blog/Vlog Story of the Month details the completion of one of my 2023 Card Hobby New Year’s Resolutions—volunteering at one of my favorite local hobby stores.
Since my return to cardboard over two years ago, I've created several hobby goals. During these two years as an active collector and participant in other collectors' cardboard journeys, I've been fortunate enough to achieve most of the goals I spoke into existence. However, there was one goal that always remained on my Cardboard New Year's Resolution List for the past two years—volunteering at one of my favorite local hobby stores in the Philly Area. This cardboard goal was personal to me, and whenever a local hobby store owner in my area would mention that they needed help in the store, I would always speak up and say let me know when I can volunteer.
Even though these requests never came to fruition, each local hobby store owner I asked always told me they would take me up on my offer one day.
When the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, it seemed my opportunity of volunteering at a local hobby in 2023 probably wasn't going to happen—So I thought! Then, to my surprise, on a random Saturday afternoon, when I decided to visit Wheelhouse Sports Cards in Wayne, PA, the typical experience I was looking forward to happened and much more. As I walked towards the first showcase, the routine conversations about cardboard nostalgia, hometown sports, and the hobby industry filled the room. The joy, humor, and playful discourse from these conversations were contagious and quickly spread from person to person. As the infectious conversations continued, my eyes and ears became intrigued by the actions unfolding at the back table near the slab bins. Unbeknownst to me, as I walked to the back table while purposely ignoring the beautiful slab wall display, I didn't realize that my urgency to see what was taking place at the back table would give me a chance to complete a bucket-list opportunity I'd been hoping for the past two years—volunteering at one of my local hobby stores. Even though the task that John gave me was simple, this opportunity to volunteer at Wheelhouse was a dream come TRUE experience that I could not say no to.
The Back Story
Before I arrived at Wheelhouse that day, John and the Wheelhouse team purchased a massive lot of basketball cards that spanned four decades (e.g., mid-to-late 70s to the early 2000s) from a long-time vintage and junk wax-era collector.
The massive lot of basketball cards featured:
Vintage On-Card Autos
Classic early '80s Junk Wax Cards
Mid to late '90s Press-Pass Insert Rookie Cards
Rare ‘90s inserts
Early 2000 base and insert card
My task for this volunteer opportunity was to sort and organize this massive lot into three categories:
Sets and Insert Subsets
Cards with grading potential
Raw cards for the basketball bin or mag wall.
In the final moments of this volunteer opportunity, as I organized the last stack of cards, sheer joy and abundance of gratitude filled my heart because, at one point during 2023, I didn’t believe this hobby bucket list goal would happen. However, as I persisted in my cardboard journey, the hobby gods continued to reward and surprise me at times when I least expected it. This opportunity to check off another hobby bucket list goal could not have come at a better time during the 2023 hobby season because, on that day, the cardboard nostalgia that stemmed from this volunteer opportunity was never-ending. The laughter, smiles, and, more importantly, the active listening of everyone’s cardboard story was magical. Collectors, young and old, who gathered around the big wooden table were quickly swept up by the nostalgic cardboard stories connected to cards unearthed from this massive lot. All I can say is you had to be there to see what I saw because having the opportunity to experience the nostalgia of collecting from the other side of the aisle as a temporary employee of Wheelhouse solidified why I returned to the hobby.
As I switched back and forth from temporary employee to collector (I spent more time on the collector side), I had to manage my urge of wanting to buy most of the cards in this massive lot. However, even though I was able to subdue my urge, I found a few cards (well, more than a few) from my exile years. While walking to the checkout counter with the cards, I played back the entire volunteer experience in my head.
During my episodic replay:
I relished the cards that took me back to the golden moments of my first hobby run.
I reveled in the satisfaction of filling the void from my cardboard exile years because I had the chance to see cards that I never knew existed.
More importantly, I appreciated the new cardboard friendships I established that spanned multiple generations.
When the final moment of my episodic replay concluded, I placed the cards(the partial set of the 1996 UD Hardwood Prospects, Rare 90s Inserts, and Press Pass Rookie Cards) on the counter, and before I could negotiate a price, John told me the cards were on the house. In the words of Biggie, I got a story to tell—On a random Saturday afternoon, I got the opportunity to volunteer at my local hobby store, and the experience I had at Wheelhouse was worthwhile, rewarding, and, most importantly, FUN!
Click the link to view the Cards I Picked Up From Wheelhouse!