Friday, November 13, 2015

Philadelphia Flyers: Topps hockey card mystery revealed

The 1970's Philadelphia Flyers were one of the most controversial sports teams of all-time. My elementary school friends, cousins and I followed the players by watching their games through the antennas that were connected to our TV sets, by playing street hockey and by collecting trading cards. No pack of Topps hockey cards that I ever opened was as memorable as the one that my elementary school buddies gave me in 1978. 

Chicken pox

No kid likes when those alien invaders, known as chicken pox, grotesquely pop out to announce their presence all over your body. Of course, you can't go to school when you get them because they are contagious. That was particularly bad because the entire foundation of our, non-family based, social lives was centered upon school. My buddies were all there, we had recess and some of the cute girls in my class even found me to be very entertaining. What more could anyone want?

The pack

I missed six straight days of school because of those chicken pox. That was highly unusual for me, as I rarely missed a day at 'work' back then. I loved that building that was withing walking distance in my neighborhood and all of the people that were in it. That feeling deepened as the years passed.    
My friends Kevin and Ed brought my assignments to my house at the end of each of those sick days, which was very cool. One day they also delivered a single pack of hockey cards with my homework. They told me that our other friends: Rick, Keith, Eddie and Dave had pooled some of their allowance money to buy it for me.
Along with some other cards, there were six Flyers cards in that pack, including: Bernie Parent, Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Jimmy Watson and Andre "Moose" Dupont.
The back of the pack's wrapper appeared to have been opened and resealed. So, I knew that my friends had actually bought multiple packs of cards and then created a specially loaded one just for me. Those six cards are nearing four decades old now. Whenever I take them out, I can see the faces of my hockey heroes and, most importantly, feel the friendship of my old school friends once more.

(I hold all copyrights to this article which originally appeared on Yahoo's Voices platform in 2011.)


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