1989-90 trading card-like photograph of Sal Barry
Like most hockey fans, I too made an attempt to play the game. Having discovered hockey in January 1989, I quickly decided that it was a game that I must learn to play. I soon purchased a floor hockey stick, and encouraged all of my friends in the neighborhood to follow suit. By March of ’89, we were playing street hockey in the alley behind my Aunt’s house on a regular basis. But that was not good enough for me; I would also have to try my hand at ice hockey…real hockey.
My Mother bought me ice skates as an eighth grade graduation present, and put me in skating lessons that summer. In the next few months, I would acquire equipment, and in the fall I would join my first hockey school – a once a week class at Franklin Park Ice Arena. Pushing 15 by then, I was among the oldest in this group of kids who wanted to learn the game. Had I discovered it five or ten years earlier, I could have at least dreamt of making it in hockey. But becoming involved in sports at age 14 – especially one with such a steep learning curve – was an uphill battle to say the least, and a story best saved for another time.
One day, my hockey school had a photographer come and take a class picture, as well as individual portraits. I told my Mom that if she purchased these photos for me, I would be willing to forgo getting pictures from high school later that year. After all, I did not like high school, and really could care less about having a portrait from my freshmen year. Hockey was all that mattered, and a picture of me “assuming the position” was ten times cooler than a high school yearbook portrait.
When the hockey pics came back a week later, I was delighted to see that a few strips of mock trading cards were included. True, I had been collecting hockey cards for less than a year, and yet I already owned ten complete sets, hundreds of singles and about three dozen autographs. Seeing me on something close to a hockey card was good enough. I gave one to my sister and traded another to one of my hockey classmates, who gave me his “card” in exchange. The rest I kept safely tucked away.
And though it lacks statistics (the back is blank), I still categorized it as a trading card for five important reasons:
- It has a photo of me in hockey gear
- It has a border
- It has a team name
- It has a year
- It is the standard card size (2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″)
Sharp-eyed readers may notice that I’m wielding a Titan hockey stick (the same one that Gretzky uses), and that I am sporting some serious hockey hair. Those are all just the proverbial icing on what is my rookie card, my last card…my only card. Worthless to all, but priceless to me.