Aaaaah, the Internet...
In 94, while spending my summer in a trailer park near Cleveland, I saw one of my friend's father spending time in front of his computer screen, explaining to me that thanks to that new system, he was able to trade and sell cards with people from all over the United States. He was a little weird and smelled of beer all the time, so I didn't really pay attention to his ramblings, but still, I wondered what he was talking about. It still seemed weird, though, not to trade in person, but hey, if brands like Flair and Finest can exist, then anything is possible.
Fast forward 4 years.
It's 1998, the french soccer team is world champion for the first time in its history (trust me, it's a big deal), the Chicago Bulls won their 6th Championship and said good-bye to Jordan for the second time, Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa would end up MVPs of their respective leagues (hindsight is cruel) and the Vikings would go 15-1 and not win the Superbowl.
But most importantly, I discover the Internet. We'd go with my older brother to his college facility, where computers with high speed internet (well, the high speed of 98, that is) were available to select students who had a pass. He was one of them. We'd spend our nights over there (simply because I wasn't allowed over there and we just wanted to be left alone), discovering the joys of the Web.
The very first thing I did was to check baseball stats for Ken Griffey Jr. I'm hopeless. Of course, I quickly got my act together and the second thing I did was to look for pics of naked women. That's also when my brother met his future (ex) wife from Australia, where he still lives, but that's another story. And it's totally unrelated to that whole naked pics thing (at least, I suppose it is).
A couple of months after that summer of all nighters looking at card manufacturers' websites and sports stats, we got the Internet at home. I quickly started using AOL to trade cards. I don't remember the details, actually, I don't even remember how it worked. The problem was that it was all on a trust basis. I trust people from the blogosphere, that's not a problem, and I'm lucky nough never to have had a problem with Ebay. But I wasn't that lucky with AOL, where there were no stars or no feedback. You just had to assume that people were honest. And they aren't always. I did meet some very kind and generous people, though, so that's what I'll try to remember the most. But my couple of misfortunes helped me get away from the hobby, though.
And here I am again. Thanks to the internet, I can buy and view cards or packs or boxes. I can trade with great people. And I can write about my life, assuming that a few of you will actually be interested.
So thanks for reading !