Taking My Hacks

After the Storm

Joe Orlando

It was just about four years ago when our nation came under attack on September 11, 2001. No one will ever forget that horrific day. A short time later, I can remember writing a piece about the role that collecting plays in our everyday lives, even during extreme times. In the midst of what is happening on the Gulf Coast, I felt the desire to address this topic once again.

Recently, our nation has been subject to a different but no less horrific attack. This time Mother Nature replaced the terrorists. This time the wind, the rain and the flood did the damage instead of the pure evil that drove misguided men to do the unthinkable. In the end, lives were changed forever and, in some cases, lost.

So, what does all this have to do with collecting?

While there is no question that a tragedy such as Katrina or Rita puts collecting in its proper perspective, the role that collecting plays during times like this is not something that should ever be dismissed. Anything, and I mean anything, which can prevent humans from dwelling on the mundane, the daily grind or the tragic is not to be overlooked.

For artists, painting may be their escape. For golf enthusiasts, a sunny day at the course might be theirs. For movie buffs, a new release DVD or an old classic in the entertainment room may do the trick. And, for collectors, focusing on building that 1955 Topps set or acquiring that next big autograph can take your mind away from the images that haunt us on every television station.

To be clear, this doesn't mean that people should ever ignore the reality of life or the current events that shape the world we live in. Escaping is a way of preserving your sanity. Whether that means sifting through the next auction catalogue or watching the Dave Chappelle Show, anything that can bring a smile to your face is worth the time. It is an investment in yourself, an investment in your life balance.

Even during times absent a catastrophic tragedy, it can get very difficult to watch the evening news night after night. No, this is not due to the fact that some news stations are seemingly more concerned with what Angelina Jolie did yesterday than real news. This is because, night after night, you have to endure the reports on murders, hit and run accidents, rapes, molestations, robberies, wars, corruption, drugs and the like.

It's just much easier to disappear into your collection or relive the memory of playing catch with your father.

It's true, if you are not a collector, it's hard to understand the drive that hobbyists share. But, then again, my wife doesn't understand why I sometimes bury myself in the TV room to watch a wildebeest migration special on Discovery Channel HD or watch The Shawshank Redemption for the 200th time. Life is too short to not do the things you love to do. If you are a collector and enjoy building, sharing and displaying your collection - then do it.

It provides the kind of escape we could all use once in a while.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.