Still Searching for the Wizard

When I wrote the very first post here at First and Goal, I concluded with the simple phrase, “Now it’s just a matter of finding out where the Yellow Brick Road will lead us…” At the time, I didn’t realize just how true that statement would be. Now looking back, exactly one year later, I can see it has been a bit of a crazy journey, complete with all sorts of characters. There is the loyal first friend I met, the Scarecrow; the infamous rusty lumberjack (perhaps frozen by the cold of the Great White North?), the Tinman; and the magical hairy beast, the Cowardly Lion. I’ve even met the patient yet possessive leader of the munchkins, the tyrannical and cursing Wicked Witch of the West and a flying monkey or two and other creatures of the night. For a while I thought I had contact with the great Wizard himself, but he seems to be absent at the moment. I’ve met so many new faces along the path, that I could not possibly mention them all (or quickly come up with clever analogies for all of them). There is one thing that I cannot argue though, it has been a fun trip so far.

On this first birthday of First and Goal, I thought it would be interesting to share some stats. These may or may not mean anything to you, but it gives a slightly better picture of the past year:

15,000+ blog hits
300+ Emmitt Smiths added to my collection, mostly from generous readers like you
233 posts (including this one)
145 eBay listings successfully sold
38 HOF Spotlight features
19 Heisman Highlight features
12 box break product reviews (and more just around the corner)
8 trade partners (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8)
5 free card contests (including one I sponsored at Wax Heaven)
4 major football licensing changes (Topps loses NFL, UD gains NCAA exclusive, UD loses NFL, Topps regains NFL)
3 Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder concerts (sorry, I had to mention it)
2 dry spells successfully weathered (buying/moving into a new house and tax season)
1 interview with a top company exec

I realize that a lot of blogs have far more impressive stats, some in far less time, but I am happy with the moderate “success” I’ve had here so far. It is certainly fun. If it wasn’t, I would have given up LONG ago. Along with the above figures, I also find it interesting to review my ambitions from Day 1: Provide new opinion on the Hobby? Check. Product Reviews? Check. Product Previews? Check. Giveaways? Check. Group box breaks. Damn. Maybe we’ll see that added in year 2.

In the spirit of all of this hoopla and celebration, I thought I should also hold another giveaway (if you were paying very close attention, you would have noticed the “5 free card contests” was a bit inflated without this part of the post). I will be honest and say this anniversary popped up on me rather suddenly, so I don’t have huge plans. So whaddya say to a mystery prize? The winner of this contest will need to tell me their collecting interest and I’ll see what I have laying around that falls into that category. If I don’t have much, I’ll just throw together an odd assortment of autographs, jersey cards, maybe some shiny inserts, and even an unopened pack or two. So how is this going to work? Simple. Leave a comment on this post and tell me:

   1) What is your favorite post so far on First and Goal?

   2) What is one post idea you’d like to see me attempt?

   3) What is your favorite Pearl Jam album?

   4) Would you continue to read this blog if nothing were to change?

   5) What is your favorite player/team/set to collect?

And just for S&Gs, we will say an answer to each of these questions is worth 1 entry. You answer all five, you get five entries. You only answer one, you only get one entry. Simple, yes? And just because I am a sucker for the pimpin’ life, and we all know “pimpin’ ain’t easy”, I’ll give you a bonus entry if you place a shout-out on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc. (please paste the link as a comment here, only 1 bonus entry possible per individual, regardless of number of socialized media sources on which I am pimped). We’ll say all entries need to be submitted my 11:59pm on Memorial Day (5/31/2010). That gives you knuckleheads over a week to leave your comments.

UDPATE: Contest is officially closed. Thank you to all who participated!

Last, but never least, we will now have the ceremonial singing of “Happy Birthday” by Binky the Clown:

Wow. That was great. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.

So until next year, may all of your packs be unsearched, your autos be on-card, and your relics game-used. As for me, I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead on the Yellow Brick Road…

17 Responses to Still Searching for the Wizard

  1. jswaykos says:

    First off, congratulations on making it a year! It’s definitely a milestone that few bloggers achieve, and I’m happy to have been around since day one! But now, let’s see if I can’t come up with five entries for yet another contest in which I’ll likely finish 2nd.

    1) My favorite post was the one where you said you’re giving up football cards to pursue baseball. Basically.

    2) I think you should dissect a relic card, just to see what the ‘middle’ looks like. I don’t have the heart to do it to one of my own, but I’m curious enough that I’ve seriously considered it. Is the swatch a ton bigger than the window? Exactly the same size? What shape is it?

    3) I’ll say my favorite Pearl Jam album is 10, if for no other reason than the fact that I think the early-mid 90s ruled. Music (my favorite band is STILL, to this day, Better Than Ezra), baseball cards (Collector’s Choice, anyone?), fads (slap bracelets, pogs…), everything.

    4) Yes, I’d keep reading if nothing changed because you’re nearly 100% original, other than the occasional press release. If you changed, you’d be less original, and people would likely read less.

    5) I only collect football once a year, but for baseball my favorite current guy to chase is Robinson Cano (past athlete is Darryl Strawberry), team is the Yankees, and set is Sweet Spot. I like relics from all sets, but the Sweet Spots are my favorite.


  2. jswaykos says:

    Also, as a supplement to question 3, I should mention that I enjoyed the soundtrack to “Into The Wild.”

  3. Hey congrats!!!

    1. my fave’s are the Heisman and Hall of Fame features…
    2. set feature. one card a day… ’78 Topps for example.
    3. 10
    4. of course… just keep posting.
    5. How ’bout dem Cowboys!

    Your pimped link…

  4. Cam says:

    1) What is your favorite post so far on First and Goal? The Error Cards post. It has always been fun to spot mistakes.

    2) What is one post idea you’d like to see me attempt? More contests!! Just kidding. How about card of the day or something of the day?

    3) What is your favorite Pearl Jam album?
    Ten, because of Even Flow and Jeremy!
    4) Would you continue to read this blog if nothing were to change? Yes, this blog is awesome!

    5) What is your favorite player/team/set to collect? Baseball = Hunter Pence/Astros/Topps
    Football = Chad Ochocinco/Bengals/Bowman

  5. mariner1 says:

    Congrats on making a year. I hope I can keep it going for a year. It only been two months and sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about. As far as my answers go:

    1. I think the post you did recently about Backspacer and Mookie Blaylock changing his name was thought provoking.

    2. I think it would be to match PJ song titles to cards of any sport, and see how they corolate to each other.

    3. Without a doubt it is the recording of their show from Sept. 22, 2009 at KeyArena in Seattle when I was at that show.

    4. I’ll keep reading because I haven’t been to into football cards, even with a friend that plays in the NFL. I just can’t keep up with all the players now a days.

    5. My favorite player is Tony Gwynn, I collect Seattle Mariners and am trying get all base cards from the other four makers that aren’t Topps. I pretty much stick to basic Topps cards nothing fancy.

    I also gave you a site pimp on my blog here:

    Thanks for the chance to win something cool. Keep up the great work!

  6. Dan says:

    1) I liked the one where you did the Emmitt Smith chronology. I’m not that familiar with football cards, so it was really interesting.

    2) I would like you to go to training camp, pose as an official “blog reporter”, and record how many players/coaches/etc will talk to you and what they say. Also, take photos for a custom card set.

    3) Ten, though Yield is a close 2nd.

    4) I would. The HOF Spotlight series is always interesting to me.

    5) Phillies cards! Steve Carlton is my #1 right now.

  7. BA Benny says:

    First off, congrats on your 1 year celebration. Now to the questions.

    1~ My favorite post was your 2009 Upper Deck error cards post about the Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler same number cards. That was one of the first posts on your blog I read and then I started following your blog.

    2~ A post I would like to see is the evolution of your collection. Maybe a look at how it started and what it has become.

    3~ My favorite Pearl Jam album is Ten. Just a great bunch of songs top to bottom.

    4~ I will certainly continue to read if you don’t change anything. Hell, I will continue to read if you do change something.

    5~ As far as collecting goes, I collect 5 teams. NY Mets first and foremost, then Yankees. On the football side I go Jets, Saints, and Giants. Just for the record I have been a Saint fan for over 25 years and am not a bandwagon jumper since they won the Superbowl.

    I have posted about your contest

    Thanks for a great contest and a great blog.

  8. Alex says:

    Congratulations on the Birthday. However if I was chosen as the scarecrow, I’d be kind of annoyed. Whenever someone at works does something stupid I tell them they’d be perfect to play the scarecrow in a remake of the Wizard of Oz because there is no one more appropriate to sing the song “if I only had a brain” than them. Anyway, on to the question.

    1) What is your favorite post so far on First and Goal?
    The HOF Spotlight on Don Hutson – one of the greatest players ever to play the game, and arguably a greater wide receiver than Jerry Rice, yet many NFL fans don’t know about him

    2) What is one post idea you’d like to see me attempt?
    I think you should do an ongoing “unsung hero” spotlight. Players who, while they will never make the HOF, were instrumental in their teams success. For example, for Green Bay it good be Frank Winters. For Dallas it could be Jay Novacek. For San Francisco it could be John Taylor. Those sort of players.

    3) What is your favorite Pearl Jam album?
    One that probably no one else will say – Yield. Why? The song “Do the Evolution”. I love the song and I love the video clip even more.

    4) Would you continue to read this blog if nothing were to change?
    Yep. You’re a football card and football blog, which is reason enough to read you. The fact that you entries are interesting makes it even more of a reason to read you.

    5) What is your favorite player/team/set to collect?
    Easy, the greatest NFL Player ever – Brett Lorenzo Favre

  9. Tim says:

    I’m at work, so I’m only answering a few to be quick!
    2) What is one post idea you’d like to see me attempt?
    Make your own relic card. Just because I’ve been tempted to try it!

    3) What is your favorite Pearl Jam album?
    Ten – I know it’s generic to say that, but it;s such a good album.

    4) Would you continue to read this blog if nothing were to change?

    5) What is your favorite player/team/set to collect?
    I “tri-collect” Fred McGriff, Seneca Wallace, and Tyronn Lue. After that I’ll say Browns and late 90’s Fleer Metal Universe

  10. 1) What is your favorite post so far on First and Goal?

    I enjoy the box break reviews. I like the concept you use to rate the boxes and the categorized characteristics you use to describe what you find. I have based more than one decision on stuff I read here.

    2) What is one post idea you’d like to see me attempt?

    Honestly I can’t think of one because if I could, I would probably write about it myself.

    3) What is your favorite Pearl Jam album?

    Ten. As far as I am concerned, that was the only Pearl Jam album. For some reason, the rest, at least to me, see too go away from what drew me to them in the first place.

    4) Would you continue to read this blog if nothing were to change?

    Of course. Why wouldn’t I? You do a great job and have some entertaining posts.

    5) What is your favorite player/team/set to collect?

    Player: Mario Lemieux/Jaromir Jagr/Bill Guerin/Rod Woodson/Troy Polamalu

    Team: Pittsburgh Penguins/Pittsburgh Steelers/Pittsburgh Pirates

    Set: I build sets so whatever catches my interest at the time.

    This contest will be pimped. I just haven’t done so yet.

  11. Mark says:

    1) The HOF Spotlight: Red Grange

    2) Unsung Punters

    3) Europe Bootleg #24 6/28/00, Sjöhistoriska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

    4) Yes. Actually, I need to read it more.

    5) Orel Hershiser

    Pimp Bonus) Linked


  12. BigD says:

    Congratulations on making it a year, I think I’ve got 2 months to go myself.

    1) I really liked your “Get Off My Card” post with Troy and Emmitt. I wonder how many times Emmitt is on Troy’s cards?

    2) Would Emmitt be the all time leading rusher if he had played on a mediocre Cowboys team? (I still love Walter Payton. I think he’s the best all-time.)

    3) I guess the newest one, whatever it’s called, since it’s the only one I actually own.

    4) Yes, gotta get football insight/info somewhere.

    5) Dirk Nowitzki & John Elway. Dallas Mavericks.

  13. Hoopography says:

    New reader to you blog. Found through Hey That’s Mine. Congrats on the 1st year!!!

  14. Tim H. says:

    1) What is your favorite post so far on First and Goal?

    I personally like how you cover the HOF players. There’s been a lot of good posts but the HOF player info sticks out the most to me.

    2) What is one post idea you’d like to see me attempt?

    Will you be willing to team up with me to cover something along the lines of “left handed batters who wore mustaches” or “The punting years- A history of the kickers who put their best foot forward”

    3) What is your favorite Pearl Jam album?

    Mine would be Vitology or Vs either one

    4) Would you continue to read this blog if nothing were to change?


    5) What is your favorite player/team/set to collect?

    Rodney Hampton, Howard Johnson, Adam Lind, Travis Snider, NY GIANTS, NY METS, NY RANGERS!

  15. Anthony K. says:

    First and foremost, congrats on the 1 year anny. I hope I can keep my blog moving forward that long 😉

    1) My favorite postS are the HOF posts. I know very little about many of he players in the NFL HOF, so it’s nice to learn something every now and again.

    2) Call me crazy, but I would like to see someone attempt tp make their own game used card. So why not start here?

    3) Call me stereotypical, follow the crowd type of guy, but Ten. Easily.

    4) Yes, yes I would. Why change what has been so successful?

    5) I collect Richard Hidalgo and Javier Vazquez exclusively, but I am drawn towards Sweet Spot autos as well (they display nciely).

    Thanks for the contest and here’s to 365 more days!!!

  16. Kevin M. says:

    1) Anything with history in it, like the HOF posts.

    2) I really like the ‘what would have happened’ idea from BigD. Not just Emmit, but anything, like what if the Dodgers signed Clemente.

    3) Vs. Still listen to it all the time.

    4) Yes of course. Keep it up.

    5) Players: Utley, Mauer and Rod Carew. I am partial to diamond kings..

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