Over Spring Break, I was able to continue my tradition of visiting Paula’s Sports Cards every time I visit Honolulu. Unlike other card shops I have visited, Paula always takes the time to interact with all her customers and genuinely enjoys the hobby. She never fails to strike up conversations with her customers. The last time I visited around a year and a half ago, I was sad to hear that Paula would be retiring and likely selling her shop. However, due to COVID-19, she decided to maintain the shop and open part-time Wednesday-Sunday. Fortunately, I was able to visit her shop on Wednesday before I flew back home on Thursday.
As I entered her store for my fifth time, a flutter of memories came. Paula’s inventory never ceases to amaze me as she had cases of 2001 SP Authentic Golf, which contains Tiger Woods’ rookie autograph card. Seeing a sealed box is an amazing feat, but to have sealed cases is a spectacular sight in the card collecting world. I remember the first time I visited, I purchased a box of 2014 Bowman Draft Super Jumbo; on her shelves, I noticed one lone box left of the same product. For old times sake, I was tempted to purchase it, but her shop had so many amazing diverse products that it was extremely difficult to make up my mind. After chatting with Paula about the hobby craze and influx of new buyers for about an hour, I settled on purchasing two boxes of 2020 Bowman jumbo, one box of 2020-21 Prizm Basketball, and some packs of Pokémon cards. In 2020 Bowman, although Bobby Witt Jr. is the popular name right now due to his performance in Spring Training, I was definitely chasing Jasson Dominguez! His 1/1 Superfractor auto has not been pulled yet, so I was hoping to be the lucky person to finally unearth it.
For me, opening Prizm used to be done quickly with little care about the design or photos used. This year with one box costing over five times as much as last year, it felt like a completely new experience. I no longer opened the packs in seconds and threw aside any cards that were not of interest. Rather, I took my time to really value the cards. Prizm used to not be considered a high-end product like National Treasures, but with the new resale price, it felt similar to opening a box of National Treasures. Although I did not pull any Lamelo Ball cards or rather any high-value cards, I had a blast opening the box and opening Prizm is always something I look forward to opening. Hopefully next year I’ll finally hit a Silver Prizm or maybe a Gold Prizm of the top rookie!
The first box of 2020 Bowman was lackluster and did not contain autos of any of the top players. In the second box, I was down to my last pack; I knew I had one auto remaining. At this point, I was hoping for anything numbered, color auto. As I slowly rolled the last auto, I noticed it was a base auto to my demise. Since it was not a superfractor that I was looking for, I jumped straight to the auto. I let out an audible gasp as I saw the name Jasson Dominguez and the blue ink from his signature! I viewed this as a sign because for the past couple of years, whenever I have opened boxes from Paula, I have always pulled an auto of the top player. A couple of years ago it was Ronald Acuña Jr., and this year it was Jasson Dominguez.
Visiting Paula and her shop has been a tradition that I always look forward to. I am 16 now, and I first visited her shop when I was 11, just beginning sports card collecting. At that time her shop amazed me due to all of her sealed boxes and cases, which put my local card shop to shame. Hopefully, I am able to visit again soon and add more positive memories.