Trevor, from supportingtheminnow, and I recently completed a trade. I sent him some 1974-75 and 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA cards along with a stack from the past couple of years and he was more than generous in his return, sending me well over half of the 1980-81 OPC set. I sent him 60 cards, he sent me about 200 in return. They weren’t just commons either, there were a lot like this guy to the left. I’ve thanked him a hundred times via email but I wanted to do it again here.
It’s these kinds of selfless acts that have kept me collecting and writing through this disaster of a lockout and something I tried to focus on after last night’s events. Hockey can still bring me joy and happiness even if it’s not currently being played or won’t be played again until October of 2013 or later. But it’s hard. Whenever I feel better, whenever I’m able to push the negativity out of my mind for a while, I wind up getting upset soon after when something like this happens.
This morning I found myself with these two paradoxical feelings:
1. Wanting to do what I did during the last lockout and forget about hockey for a while. If the owners, and now players, want to be greedy and try to squeeze each and every last percentage point and dollar out of each other at the cost of the season, forget it. If they’re going to neglect me, the fan, then I’m going to do the same to them. Why bother spending money on cards and time writing about them?
2. Missing hockey terribly. I have the desire to purchase cards and write about them more than ever to help fill the vacuum the lockout has left.
At first, I decided that the way for me to address these two thoughts is this: to view cards strictly as a means of nostalgia. The reason one collects vintage cards is that it’s an attempt to revisit a time you can’t go back to. I fell in love with hockey when I was eight and nine years-old, when the Bruins were in the old Adams Division; when there were teams in Hartford, Quebec, Winnipeg (1.0), and Minnesota (ditto); when there were still a handful of helmet-less players; and when guys routinely scored 50 goals. I wondered if I still liked hockey because it’s a means to nostalgia, that is, I thought I might enjoy watching present day hockey because it reminds me hockey in the late-eighties and early-nineties. I certainly don’t care for teams in Nashville, Phoenix, Florida, and Dallas; the Wild over the North Stars; Blake Wheeler’s Jets over Teemu Selanne’s (the franchise Bobby Hull helped build, the one that won Avco Cups before jumping over to the NHL, is owner-less and in the desert, not the one back in town); I certainly don’t care for Reebok’s slim-fit jerseys over the old CCM sweaters; the Eastern and Western Conferences to the Campbell and Wales. I like old, terrifying hockey masks:
All that thinking brought me to this: The idea that Offcentred would only feature cards that are PB, or, pre-Bettman. I’m drawing the line at 1994-95 even though he took office in January of 1993; nothing really bad happened until the first lockout. Anything produced after that wouldn’t appear on this website until the lockout is resolved. Cards printed after that which features players that are PB would be fine fine; a Gordie Howe 2008-09 Champ’s, yes; a 2011-12 OPC Retro of Ron Francis wearing a Whalers jersey, yes; a Joe Sakic 2008-09 Upper Deck in an Avalanche jersey, no.
But then I talked to my friend about my frustration over all this and she mentioned how Buddhists try to live without expectation, for it can lead to unhappiness. We were in my car and she used the example of a red light. If you have the expectation that each light will be green, you’ll get frustrated when it’s red. Instead, if you accept that the light may be green or red, you will be happy if it’s green. While it’s not a perfect metaphor–there doesn’t have to be a lockout like there has to be red lights–I’m going to treat it like this: I’m not going to expect this mess to get sorted out anytime soon. So if something hockey related brings me joy–be it buying vintage at a card show, posting one of those wonderful O-Pee-Chee Retro Marquee Legends from this years set, or playing NHL 13–I’ll do it. I’m just not going to follow the lockout and get upset, or my hopes up, anymore.
Let me know when it’s over. I’ll be thinking about those old teams:
And the 1980 Miracle on Ice:
And trading with others like Trevor.