I didn't know what word would best describe what I wanted to post about today. Individualism seemed to be the best choice, but I'm still not quite happy with it.
Read on and let me know if you can come up with a better word.
When I was a kid growing up, hockey cards were a simple thing. One season, one set, 396 cards. Once I got all of them - I was done. For most of my friends, that was what you collected.
I had no problem with that.
As the industry changed in the 1990's, I eventually found myself becoming more disinterested in card collecting. Part of the reason was that I was unhappy with what I was collecting. It wasn't fun and it seemed more of a burden than anything.
Returning to the hobby in the late 90's, I tried my hand at many different collecting "styles". Sets (new and old), inserts, and eventually landing on player collecting.
The choices throughout these years were mine and mine alone. I was in charge of what I collected.
I'll admit, I made some choices that I wish I could take back now (like hoarding unopened boxes of Pro Set Series II - ouch!), but I think I needed to go through those nasty trails in order to get to where I am today with my collection.
What I'm most happy with is that I came across my collection because it is what I decided to collect. Not because I knew some other people who collected Trevor Linden and I decided to follow suit. I came up with the reason and it is MY collection.
Lately I have seen people asking "Who should I collect?" I don't understand the reason to ask that question. If you can't make the decision yourself, then why are you really collecting?
If it's a toss-up between a couple players and you throw the choices out there for others decide, then I would wonder why you couldn't make the decision yourself.
Are you collecting for investment (hoping you can flip your cards down the road for a profit)? Are you collecting out of boredom (and just don't really care what you get)? Are you collecting because you are following other people's leads (and end up with a 'flavor-of-the-week' pick)?
I think that a true collector can find the essence of his or her collection. That may sound deep, but I think that is the way to determine one's true enjoyment in the hobby.
I know collectors that have come up with some standard collections (sets, players, teams, etc.) but they are truly passionate about what they collect. They understand the essence of their collection and what they enjoy about the hobby.
I know collectors that have some neat 'ouside the box' ideas for collections (enforcers, goalies, players holding the Stanley Cup, guys who wear jersey number 72...for whatever reason, but you get my drift). A little creative thinking has given them a quest - and it was their decision, their collection.
For me, I love my player collection, but I realize now that Trevor Linden has retired, there won't be too many new cards of him coming out. Sure there will be the search for the Linden's I have yet to acquire, but I wanted to expand my collection. That's why I'm also collecting my goalie mask cards, my "One Sheet, One Sets", my "1vs100" and "players raising the Stanley Cup". I may add to it or I may not.
But in the end, the choice will be mine and mine alone. If it isn't - then it isn't my collection.
note: for the record, 11 players have worn jersey #72...we can all say we learned something today.