Wow. Things sure have changed for me. I still pick up vintage every now and then, but have concentrated more on Team Set Collecting on Bengals, and now Rangers.
Just two years ago I learned the proper rules of hockey and I didn't realize how much I was missing. I started off with the Blue Jackets (because they were mentioned on Chicago PD) but then heck, this is a home team I can root for. I guess I was gravitating more towards hockey now because the price range made it accessible for me to attend games. Plus, out of my friends I hang with there is one that is a Rangers fan. My other friends only know my collection interests as "sports" other than the ones who play poker, they only focus in on when I play the ponies.
I never thought I would follow hockey. It was the LAST sport on my list, although there was a short stint when I did because baseball was pushing out a GLUT of stuff. Pavel Bure. Mannon Rheaume. That Devils Pressure Defense. Yeah, all early 90's and even back then I STILL did not understand the game.
What I've learned the past 10 years?
You don't need the most expensive cards to be a good collector.
You don't need ALL of the cards to be a good collector.
What you need is your passion for your sport or team.
So what if you don't have that RC? I have an OPC 14 Zuccarello card and I'm happy with it. I don't have his RC because I really don't like the design of his RC, no matter how much in demand it is in. I don't need a RC for my collection to be worth something. It's worth something to ME and that is all that matters.
Now I am starting to collect full team sets. I don't need to grab that single everyone else is wanting. If it's ugly, I don't want it. The only ugly I like is on pre-war vintage. They went through the years without help from today's technology. You think a T206 slabbed back then if they had today's technology be worth so much?
And I LOVE group breaks. Pay for the team and hope for the best. Yeah, sometimes you get hosed, but when you get a hit, it is definitely euphoric. I would like to give the box breakers (and the TCC team) my eternal gratification for putting up with me. You guys know what I mean.