Ugh... the last two NLCS games have not been good for my nerves or my mood. The whole lack of offense narrative is getting tired and, well, terribly true. I can take being shut out by Clayton Kershaw - he's going to be on a plaque in Cooperstown someday - but, Rich Hill? C'mon guys... At least the series is just 2-1 and there's time to turn this thing around.
At any rate, after a second consecutive shutout at the hands of the Dodgers, this Cubs fan needed a pick-me-up. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait too terribly long to find it.
I discovered an e-mail in my inbox from the school librarian, letting staff know that the new periodicals had arrived and the old issues were free to a good home. This perked up my ears - after all, though Highlights, Boy's Life and Zoobooks have no appeal to me, there is one child's magazine that would interest any card-collector:
Of course, I'm not into SI for Kids for their writing - I barely read the adult version, after all. No, these magazines are all about the nine-card panels inserted in each issue, a continuous tradition since the publication's inception. Luckily, there must not be any cardboard-obsessed kids in this school, seeing as the rags still had their free goods tucked safely inside. Score!
...Also, is there such a thing as an SI for Kids cover curse? Asking for a friend...
SI for Kids are known for their "Wide Wide World of Sports" approach to subjects for their cards. As you can plainly see above, they go out of their way to get off of the beaten path and showcase athletes and sports that get little-to-no love from the likes of Topps, Panini, Leaf, etc. I mean, where else are you going to get a card of a women's collegiate hockey forward or a cyclist?
By the way, Olympian Kristin Armstrong bears no relation to the infamous bicyclist by the name of Lance; curiosity already led me to check.
While sharing some of the spotlight with gymnasts and swimmers is noble and helps build interest and support in youths, the major sports are still the bread and butter of the vast card set. These particular samples were heavy on the NFL quarterbacks (with an especially cool shadow shot on the Palmer single); however, the NBA, NHL and international football also get some love from the editors as well:
I'll tell you what, I'm not much for soccer/football, but that's a pretty swell goal celebration shot for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez. I don't think there's anything in sports quite like the pure, raw emotion found in such on-field jubilees.
Meanwhile, of course there's also a healthy selection of cards from our nation's pastime included within the SI for Kids checklist:
Both collegiate and professional, at that. Andrew Beckwith (now a senior) built up his draft stock by being named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player in 2016 - perhaps he'll end up drafted by the Cubs? As for Oklahoma's Paige Parker, she represents the first softball card to enter into possession.
These other two players need no introduction - however, Jose Altuve does apparently need to stop making funny faces or his face will stick like that. The David Ortiz card had already been set aside for Shoebox Heroes, as part of a trade package I've been slow on building.
All that saw above were fun to look through and all; but, none of them really fit into my collections. It wasn't going to be much of a mood-booster if none of the cards were of particular use to me...
Thankfully, that was not the case.
Jamal Crawford may be with the Clippers now, but he started out his long career with the Chicago Bulls way back in 2000 - into the Bulls All-Tiime Roster Collection binder he goes. Additionally, while I may already have Carl Edwards (not to be confused with the Cubs reliever of the same name) in my NASCAR binder, this amazing capture of his trademarked victory back-flip simply cannot be denied entry. This instantly becomes one of my favorite racing cards.
Those gets were all well and good; that said, it was these last two cards that really brought a smile to my face.
Artemi Panarin, the reigning NHL Rookie of the Year doesn't have a huge presence in American cardboard as of yet; therefore, this "Bread Man" oddball makes for a super welcome sight! Here's hoping he and the Blackhawks can put it all together this season and make another deep playoff run.
If things don't turn around soon for Jake and his Cubs, I might have to switch my focus to the ice much sooner than I'd hoped. Though his star hasn't shined quite as brightly this season and I pulled his card after a clunker on the big stage, I can;t say no to a new oddball of Jake the Snake. In fact, this is only my second Cubs-affiliated SI for Kids single ever and the last one depicted Mark Grace. Needless to say, I don't come across them too often.
It's been a wile...
And so, there you have it. After flipping through all of those cards, blogging about them and even finding a few that slotted nicely into my collections, I feel an awful lot better. I'd say that his pick-me-up certainly worked like a charm.
Fingers crossed that the old publications will continue to be offered up to staff after their useful life has run it's course - I sure wouldn't mind having continued access to these oddball trading cards, after all. I suppose working at a middle school does have it's privileges.
Here's hoping I don't need ANOTHER pick-me-up after tonight's game.