Taking My Hacks

Crawl Before You Walk

Joe Orlando

The endeavor of collecting is no different than any other endeavor in that it is best to take your time before diving in with reckless abandon. You have to ask many questions, learn from your experiences and make sure you are informed-at least as much as you can be about the subject matter. You also have to learn more about yourself, what you like best and what direction you want your collection to take.

If you choose to ignore these simple rules, you can open yourself up to a world of hurt.

Think of it this way... have you ever gone to the gym and watched in horror as the so-called "professional trainers" instruct their new clients to do things that not even an advanced gym rat would do? I feel really sorry for these people. It's their first day at the gym and Thor, their new fitness instructor, is asking them to do something that resembles a scene out of Cirque du Soleil.

The poor client is 75 years old and has never been to a gym. That said, Thor proceeds to tell the client to stand on one leg while he simultaneously balances on top of a fitness ball (which resembles a large, grey beach ball for those of you not familiar with it), pulls a rope with one arm and curls a dumbbell with the other. Keep in mind this guy has never worked out in his life, but he is expected to do something Spiderman would find difficult.

So, after this poor soul slips on the first curl, he bounces off the ball on the way down, launching himself over the railing on the second floor and impaling himself on the popcorn machine below. Why is there a popcorn machine in the gym? I don't know; ask the manager. Have I been watching too much Family Guy lately? Yes. Did that influence the over-the-top exaggeration of this story? Yes. While that may be true, there is a point here underneath the silly exterior.

When I see things like this at my gym, I think to myself that it may have made just slightly more sense to have started the new client with basic movements and exercises before asking him to become a combination of a ballet dancer and Darth Maul during his first session. How about we start with a simple push-up? Perhaps we can introduce curls to the client without requiring him to surf the back of an angry tiger shark at the same time. These are just suggestions, but I am sure Thor has done his research at the Justice League of America.

By the way, I did my own research and realize that Thor was not part of the Justice League, but it sounded funny to me so I went with it.

Getting back to the point... it is always better to take your time. Rather than jumping in without a clue, gather all the pertinent information first and then work towards formulating a plan that will help you reach your personal collecting goals. Collecting can be a lot of fun, but it is imperative that you start slowly until you can gain the confidence to proceed further. Even seasoned hobby veterans may decide to take on new challenges, entering a segment of the hobby they have never tried before; yet the same general rule applies.

PSA takes the information component of your experience seriously. As we build our free online reference, PSA CollectibleFacts, which I encourage everyone to check out on our site, we hope we can help hobbyists - even experienced ones - learn something new so they can run free as collectors.

We have to remember, though, it is best to crawl before we walk.

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.