I am going to kick this off by saying that I really need to do something nice for Alex and Lona at Valley Sports Cards. They are reminders that we live in a beautiful world with amazing people.
As collectors we all have our white whale autographs. You know which autographs I am talking about. The ones that you would give anything to have in your collection. I have been lucky and accumulated lots of the autographs on my white whale list. Players that have been my white whale autographs in the past include Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Zack Grienke, Larry Walker, and Tom Glavine. As you see, I am talking autographs that I wanted so bad that I would do a lot for them.
Which leads me to this. Until last Saturday, if you told me that I could have any autograph that I wanted, dead or alive, I would have given you the name of Tommy Lasorda. The man is Mr. Dodger, my all time favorite team. This is a man who has said that if he can’t be buried at Dodgers Stadium then he wants a Dodgers schedule put on his grave. So when Valley Sports Card held a raffle, with that a Lasorda signed ball as one of their grand prizes, I knew that I couldn’t miss it.
Alex from Valley Sports Cards does these raffles a couple of times every year. There are many ways to get raffle tickets over time. I get them from chase packs and his bid board; there are other ways as well. I missed the last raffle (plus I found a bunch when I got rid of my car) so I had about a dozen or more tickets; it was a full year’s worth of tickets. With card shops few and far between, and bleeding money as it is, it says a lot that Alex does these raffles for his customers. And despite what certain members of my inner circle may think, I am not owed anything because I don’t spend a lot of money there; the fact that I bought 2 boxes there recently with birthday money was a fluke that never happens.
On may way to the raffle, Alex messages me and asked if I was coming in. I didn’t think much of it, as I thought he was just counting heads for the raffle. When he noticed that I was in the shop, he pulled me to the side and gave me something amazing:
It’s a Dwayne Jarrett signed Panthers football. I didn’t know how to react as I was thankful in so many ways so I just hugged him; and I am not a hugger. I am the type of person where when I come out ahead, I leave before my luck evens itself out. Say I come to a casino with $50; if I am at $75, then I am done gambling. Truth is, if I didn’t want to attack the dollar bin, then I would’ve bolted. I am glad that I stayed.
In the past I have taken various methods. I spread out my tickets and won a Pau Gasol signed basketball; and didn’t come away with anything when I stacked my ballots in the item that had the least another time. When Lona said that the Lasorda had by far the fewest ballots, I handed her my stack. I don’t blame people because the other prizes were Albert Pujols, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson autographs. Maybe if they had lesser entries, I would’ve spread it a little but I doubt it. No offense to them but none of those guys are on my must have list. Even with the odds stacked in my favor, winning wasn’t guaranteed.
The started off with a dozen door prizes. I didn’t win any of those. After that they moved to Grand Prizes in order of ticket amount; so they started with the Lasorda ball. Alex called my name. Standing their as they raffled off the remaining prizes gave me enough time to get the feeling back in my legs from nerves.