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…