Footy Cards

Fucking footy cards.
If I get asked to buy one more pack I could explode.
Footy cards are the cause of 90% of the angst in our household. I hope the person that introduced them to Australia has girls not boys. If he had boys they would have all the cards they wanted. So I hope he has girls so they can annoy him for girl things.
How many times can you say no. How often does “I am not buying you a pack today” need to be said.
How many times do you need to be told “I am not spending $20 on one card on Ebay. I don’t care how rare and valuable he is.”
And I don’t care if it is your money or not.
Actually Max suckered me in this week. He needs 3 more West Coast Eagles cards (his team) to complete a set. So he convinced me to buy one on Ebay for $2.75. A pack of 9 cards costs $3. but when you get to the pointy end of the collection you usually just end up with doubles. So really spending a few $ on the one card you need can be justified. Or at least he justified it to me. And I justified it to myself.
But try justifying that to the Mrs.
“you are NOT buying footy cards on Ebay. That defeats the whole point. What a waste of money.”
While I agree with the “waste of money” sentiment to an extent, I also understand where Max is coming from. It’s not about the money.
It is footy cards. And having a full set is awesome. There are bragging rights at school. There is the kudos of having the rare cards. The negotiating power. The upper hand. The posturing.
By the end of May, half way through the season, all the cards are gone. So I buy a box at the beginning of May and use it for my own bargaining power. I bribe and cojol with it. Use them like dog treats. And it works beautifully.
The most annoying thing about footy cards is seeing the discarded cards on the floor around the house. We must have thrown out hundreds of cards throughout the years. And we always say there will be “no cards or album next year if this is the way you treat them.” But we are weak. And the boys know that. They wear us down. And sending them to school without the ability to swap cards at playtime or on the designated swap days is akin to child abuse.
The footy album goes everywhere. Toilet, dinner table, car and friend’s homes. There are rules when it comes to swapping cards. Rules born from previous Mafioso stand over tactics. It’s a dangerous business this swapping. Fisticuffs and tears are a seasonal occurrence.
On more than one occasion a parent to parent phone call has had to take place confirming the said swap. Or, as has happened in the past, apologising but the swap should not have happened and can he have his card back as he is in tears – it was his favourite player.
So now swaps have to be approved by a parent.  And it can be a complicated business. ”Take backs” or “backs” are allowed unless “no take-back” is declared. That is essentially a cooling off period. Either person has a fixed time period in which to ask for their cards back. There is an unwritten rule that if there has been an unfair swap (or in layman’s terms they are taking the piss) then an automatic “take back” is allowed at the exploited persons request.
I am still trying to get my head around the card types. There are pointers, flix and pals. Wildcards, gold cards and silver cards. And there are only certain members of each team worthy of being immortalised in a footy card.
To get a gold wildcard is akin to winning a small fortune on the lottery. There is just one in every box of 30-odd packs.
My youngest Zak entered a raffle competition at the school footy night last year. There were 2 boxes of footy cards as prizes. Out of several hundred people he won one of the boxes and brilliantly his best mate won the other box. I thought he might hyperventilate. He ripped through that box like a card shuffling machine discarding 90% and keeping the ‘good ones’.
This footy card malarkey is a beast that cannot be stopped. And why should it. All we seem to do is stop them doing this and stop them doing that.
Despite the way I started this article I have just convinced myself that I think footy cards are great for kids.
Until tomorrow when I hear “dad can I have a pack of footy cards”
Then I will think. “These fucking footy cards. I hope the person that introduced them to Australia has girls.”