A Christmas story about my PTSD

In the past on here, I have been open about my PTSD and anxiety that goes with it. This entry about is a little window further into it.

On Christmas I didn’t get any cards but I did get an ‘IOU’ and a gift card to buy cards. Like anyone, I couldn’t wait until the day after when I could cash those in. So on the 26th, I headed to my favorite card shop, Valley Sports Cards.

I rarely ever can afford to buy a box of cards but this time I was able to buy two. Sure I was buying two $50 boxes and not a box that cost $70 to $150 but this was a big deal to me. Even though I ended up spending $110, this was by far my biggest card purchase ever at any retail shop. This combined with buying a chase pack and winning, was enough to make my head spin and trigger my anxiety.
I have covered the chase packs that I buy from Valley Sports Cards before: here. In the past I have said that I have grabbed the thickest pack so I went with the opposite this time; I grabbed the thinnest. I wasn’t expecting to win a prize, and am not sure that I really wanted to. It is when you aren’t expecting to get something that it usually happens. The odds say 1 in 16.6 on the front but I have probably had much better luck than that. When I saw that I won, I was kind of pissed. I didn’t want Alex and Lona to think that I was cheating the system. I know part of this thinking is normal but it is magnified even more with my anxiety. This combined with buying 2 boxes was too much for my head. I picked a Kurt Rambis autograph as my prize by the way.

I drove with my brother. Going back from Tarzana, where the shop is, to Simi Valley, where I live, is a 30 minute drive because they are not freeway close so for 8 miles or so I am on side streets before I hit the 118 freeway. For the first half of that span, you could hear a pin drop in the car. I didn’t turn on the stereo or say a word.

A huge key to getting through is anxiety is getting through destructive thoughts. Destructive might be too grand of a word to explain this as I am functional during this thinking, but you get what I am saying; it was unhealthy. The key is to identify destructive thinking so you can reverse it and put a positive spin on it as fast as possible. After 15 minutes, I apologized to him and told him what was bugging me. For a high school sophomore, who I don’t see all the time, he was cool about it. We talked it out and came to the conclusion that this purchase was a huge anomaly and if I got the boxes yesterday then I wouldn’t be feeling this way; after all this was from 2 people. With regards to the chase pack, I will just have to accept that Alex and Lona know that I am a good person who would never cheat them; plus good things deserve to happen to me: a fact that I need to come around to.

I was going back and forth about whether to share this. Ultimately I decided to share my thoughts because I know that these depression and anxiety is more common than it should be. As a great person on Twitter said, we should break the stigma of mental health issues being a problem. I am not sharing this for people to feel sorry for me, I am sharing this to add to the rhetoric that needs to be growing.

By the way my purchases:

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20151227_141933The contents of the chase pack.

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This is what’s great about the hobby #9

As someone with PTSD, there are very few places where I can find peace when I need it. Since I am not coaching this season, I have 3 places that I can go. One of those places is my favorite card shop.

I have covered in the past how I hate mystery packs. They never give value and a lot of the people selling them are unethical. Fortunately not everyone is like that, because my favorite card shop has mystery packs that have really paid off for me.  Here is how Alex at Valley Sports Cards does it. He puts together packs for 10 bucks from one sport. Each pack includes 2 relics, several rookie cards, a raffle ticket, and a board of death.  On top of that, he has cards in his display case that say 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize. Right now for basketball there is a Scottie Pippen autograph as 1st prize for the basketball packs. The thing with that board of death is that in a handful of packs there is prize message on there saying that you won 1st prize (or 2nd or 3rd). He holds about 2 raffles a year. They are like big parties where he celebrates his customers and rewards them. He raffles good stuff like Jordan, Kershaw, and Magic Johnson autographs. There are customers that come acting like they are entitled to win everything, but Alex (and his wife who is just as amazing) take such good care of his customers that the appreciation is a 2 way street for 99.9% of the customers. I won a Pau Gasol signed basketball from one of the raffles, thanks to all the tickets that I had compiled from his mystery packs.
I love buying these packs because Alex does not put junk in there. Among the highlights of cards that I have got in the packs alone: Bobby Doer autograph, Wade Boggs jersey, Sam Bradford dual jersey, piece of a Super Bowl pylon, etc. Not all are great, but that is very rare. There are days when I walk away thinking that I got a dud pack but those days are pretty rare. I have bought so many packs and won some good stuff: Bob Griese autograph, Steve Young autograph, Alex Rodriguez booklet, etc.

As a low end collector, I hate walking into his shop with only dollar bin items so I try to buy one every time that I come in as reciprocation for how well Alex and his wife have treated me over time. I am not going to lie, I look at the prizes showcased to see if there is anything good; but very rarely is buying those my single reason for buying one of the packs.

So let’s take a look at how I did from my visit over the weekend:

Pack 1
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The Isiah Thomas autograph is numbered to 25

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I hit a choice of 3rd prize from this pack and chose something good…

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Review: 100 baseball cards box from Fairfield Company

As stated, I am not a fan of buying any retail products. I have said this in past posts about packs and blaster boxes but my feelings extend to the ‘value boxes.’ I would lump the ‘value boxes’ into misery packs  mystery packs. I am just not a fan. I have never got any value from these ‘value boxes.’ That isn’t to say, they aren’t fun.
The other day, I was with a family member who was getting school supplies at Target. I didn’t need any, unless you count printer ink which I didn’t have the funds for, so I wondered off into the card aisle. (Yes, I see the logic: I didn’t have money for printer ink so I go to spend money on cards. Even if they cost less money, it is still money that I could be saving, but I know that I am not the only card collector that faces this paradox.) A box that just guarantees you 100 cards caught my eye. The box said that 1 in 4 packs contains a hit. With 5 boxes there, I picked the box that I thought contained a hit. I was wrong.

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The ‘hit’ ended up being some newer Topps cards stuck together. I got what I deserved as even though it was visible, I was pack searching in a way; and everyone hates a pack searcher.
The box ended up being pretty fun. I ended up scoring a bunch of cards that I will actually keep for my personal collection. Some of the highlights are pictured:

-A random assortment of manager cards including Tony LaRussa and Tommy Lasorda. 2 of the all time greatest managers and to be honest, 2 of my 3 personal favorite with Sparky Anderson being the other. I love that the LaRussa card is from his lesser known White Sox days.
-Chad Curtis cards. You don’t expect multiple cards containing the same player in these boxes but I got just that with Chad Curtis. This box landed in the right hands as I am probably one of the few people in this world who can appreciate his cards, since we share the same birthday.
-2 Danny Tartabull ‘Diamond Kings’ cards and random rookie cards including a Jason Schmidt rookie card. I don’t even mind the duplicate Tartabull cards as he won me over in his Seinfeld cameo.

I was disappointed in one aspect as I got 2 cards that were very damaged. There was no excuse for this. The company can’t blame the fact that these are older cards that were in way better condition in the box. I am not the only one who had this problem as there have been some similar complaints on Twitter.
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With boxes like these, you always feel like people opened packs and put the junk in a pile. This was no exception. At least one of those junk pack piles was early 80s Donruss.
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Overall, you can do a lot worse for $5.99. For a product with a bad reputation, I was pretty happy if you take away the damaged cards. The rookies were nothing special but I was happy with the older cards.

Mystery Packs, more like Misery Packs

Mystery packs are the biggest joke in the card game. Everyone who buys packs has probably bought at least one. The idea of 2 hits for 10 dollars or any price is tempting. However what you get in return is cards where the person behind the misery pack was just trying to get rid of to begin with. That is fine if the players are decent. The players are never decent though. 99% of the time, the players you get are those that are retired. You don’t even get the players who retired on their own, you get those who are not retired by choice. That amount to getting an event used card from a draft pick who was cut 3 years ago. If you are lucky, you will get an auto of that player. You will never get a patch or a hall of famer. If you do, it is because you paid for a high end misery pack. Most high end mystery packs are the price of a box of cards though. Now we are getting into the territory of SBay and that is a ‘super box’ or Topps or Upper Deck products that only carry a few cards. Personally, I would rather pay a little more if I had the money for one of those products than a ‘misery pack.’ Here is why, anything going in a misery pack is guaranteed to be something the person making them can’t sell on their own.

There are some people who do mystery packs right. I have yet to see one online and after years of collecting will never buy one online because the people currently selling them have killed my faith in them.

I will be honest, I wrote this post because I bought one a while ago and found out several people were scammed from the person. The person was selling misery packs on Twitter and I got suckered. I deserve the misfortune that I got. The person selling them disappeared from twitter for 5 months and randomly sent me a message. During that time Twitter disappearance which was clearly the result of bad ethics, many people tried to reach out to this person because they were scammed. He did worse than he did to me. I was shocked when the account reached out to me and said they fired the person behind it. I don’t buy it and really hope that person stops scamming people.