|2010 Topps Triple Threads relic, 31/36|
My nephew has never been to St. Louis. No one in my family or my brother-in-law's family is from St. Louis. Well, kind of.
Yesterday was my nephew Kyle's 8th birthday party, so Mrs. K and I trucked up to central New Jersey to partake in the festivities. And the gifts Kyle received largely reflected his platform of adopting every St. Louis professional sports team as his own. A Rams piggy bank, St. Louis Blues jersey, and even tickets to a Rams game!
Now, I can't talk, since I was a Buffalo Bills fan and a Boston Celtics fan long before I ever set foot in those cities. I guess in that respect he takes after his ol' uncle.
But, in my nephew's case, why St. Louis? Simple: their dog, Spencer, was adopted from a family that lives in a suburb of St. Louis. So, naturally, St. Louis Rams it is. [Ed. Note: Hey, it was the logic of a 6-year-old boy. Plus, my reason for being a Bills fan isn't much better.]
Anyways, the kid is crazy about the Rams first and foremost, and loves Sam Bradford. At least he isn't an Eagles or Jets fan. I can pretty much live with anything else.
And since his inner sports fanatic emerged a year or so ago, I figured it was high time to get the lad spiritually invested in sports cards. Last birthday, we got him a blaster of 2011 Topps football. I figured it was appropriate, since my first big year of collecting occurred when I was seven, also.
Sure enough, days after his birthday, my sister emailed me asking where to get a binder and pages for his cards. Turns out he was looking at them and organizing them obsessively. Naturally, I pointed her towards Target or Wal-mart, where he would also have a chance to con mom into buying some more packs! Next time I was at their house, I was so proud as he showed me his binder of football cards. Nine-pocket pages with all the cards organized by team. I was impressed!
But, that was last year. This year, I figured it was time to up the ante. And over the summer, I found the above Bradford relic card on eBay and knew it was something I had to buy for Kyle. I did the "Buy It Now" option and probably overpaid a tad, but everything you can buy for a kid at Toys R Us is obscenely marked up as it is, so that's how I rationalized it.
Thus, this relic card and a Bradford McFarlane figure were our gifts to Kyle yesterday. I think he approved. I put the card in a brand new magnetic hard case, where it will hopefully remain. But, if he's anything like I was at that age, he's going to try to crack the case open and jam the card into his binder on the Rams page.
So, I feel good that I've done my small part to pass the hobby on to the younger generation. My brother-in-law is a big sports fan, but wasn't much of a card collector when he was young. To my knowledge, he doesn't have any of his boyhood cards anymore. Thank goodness for godfathers (that's me).
We haven't done baseball cards yet, but in time that'll come. For now, he's pretty much a football kid. Though, he did go to his first major league game this past summer -- Cardinals vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Sadly, his Cards lost despite an early homer from Carlos Beltran.
So for every Christmas and birthday for now and until he's an awkward teenager who forget about sports cards in favor of loud music and chicks, Kyle will be getting some kind of cool cardboard from his crazy Uncle Mark.