Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Never Know...

I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is the home of North Carolina State University and is the capital city of North Carolina. Athletes and coaches like Bill Cowher, Lou Holtz, Phillip Rivers, David Thompson and Jim Valvano have made their way through N.C. State. But Raleigh has also turned out some other celebrities as well. Emily Proctor (who currently stars in CSI Miami) and Sharon Lawrence (former NYPD star) are also from my hometown.

But two of the funniest people around today lived a few houses away from me. David and Amy Sedaris grew up a rock’s throw from my front door. Their older sister Lisa was my family’s babysitter. Never heard of them? Google the two of them and you’ll discover that they are both major celebrities. Amy pops up on David Letterman’s show with regularity and David is a staple on NPR. Both are playwriters.

My parents still live in the house I grew up in. Lou Sedaris (Amy and David’s Dad) still lives in the house they grew up in so our parents are still friends. Dad and Mr. Sedaris both worked together for years for IBM.

So what’s my point here? To let you know I know the Sedaris siblings? Nope…growing up I can honestly say I never in my wildest dreams would have predicted that either of them would become famous people. They just seemed like the rest of us kids. Okay that may not quite be the truth (Amy in particular was always very dramatic) but there wasn’t something that just cried out “a star is born.”

We all walk through live surrounded by extraordinary people (we ourselves may be extraordinary.) Extraordinary can be demonstrated in a number of ways but its meaning is obvious. Whether it is a famous doctor, actor or athlete they all come from somewhere. Perhaps the next Justin Bieber is hanging out at your local Mall…

I’m currently reading David’s latest book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: a Modest Bestiary and that’s what prompted this blog. Every time I see Amy cracking up David Letterman I wonder when did it happen? When did she discover that she had “it”? Because when we were kids she was just a neighborhood kid like the rest of us. But read one of David’s books and you’ll wonder how in the world I did not notice that he was a bit different than the rest of us!

DJ Kazmierczak

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Sports Life

I love this time of year. It’s absolutely insane – for some reason life heats up to a crazy pace on October 1, but it’s worth it. Not only is does the weather improve (although I admit that I am not looking forward to the cold winter temps), but fall is the apex of the sports year.

I love sports. Not all of them equally, but I will watch just about anything on TV. It’s amazing too, when you consider the recent and not-too-recent track records of some of my favorite teams. I’ve been a Royals fan ever since I went to college – I’m dating myself, but it was 1985 and the Royals were at their peak. It’s been a long painful slide since then.

My two NFL teams are the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are actually showing a glimmer of respectability this year, but it’s going to be a long cold winter in Charlotte.

The Charlotte Bobcats are (still) an expansion team – not much else to say about that.

I’ve had more luck with college sports…my beloved Jayhawks won the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship two years ago. They also won in ’88 when I was in college – it’s a feeling that is beyond description. The football team won the Orange Bowl in 2008. If you know anything about the history of football at Kansas, you know what an accomplishment that was. I’m not even going to talk about this year’s football team.

And then there’s NASCAR. It’s never been a sport that I followed or watched and when I started at Press Pass, I had to take a crash course in drivers, sponsors and fans. In my almost nine years here, I have come to appreciate, not just the skill and talent of the drivers, but the passion and enthusiasm of the fans. I believe that the people who buy our NASCAR trading cards are more than collectors – they are true fans of the sport and the drivers they follow.

I think that’s the best part about what we do. We help people who are already fans become even bigger fans of their sport. It’s why we have (sometimes) heated discussions in our office about who attends the National and other opportunities to talk to fans – it is an incredible feeling to find out how excited people are about the product we produce. It’s not an opportunity many companies have. Of course, the downside is when people are not happy about an experience with our product, but that is also part of the job. You listen, you learn and you make the next product better.

We love hearing from you. Keep the comments and thoughts coming – through phone calls, email, Facebook, etc. Good and bad, we want to hear from you.

Terri Rehkop

Friday, October 8, 2010


I’m sure this will shock most of you but before I came to work here at Press Pass I didn’t even know that NASCAR Trading Cards existed. I know, I know, for most of you that doesn’t make sense because you’re so passionate about NASCAR Trading Cards. Even though I lived in Charlotte, which to some is the center of the NASCAR world, I was blind to almost all things NASCAR and that included NASCAR trading cards.

I never collected trading cards myself and I didn’t know much about the trading card industry in general. I quickly learned that my husband, my father, my brother in-law and pretty much all the men in my family had their share of old shoe boxes and notebooks filled with trading cards that they collected during their youth; which I thought was pretty cool. They each had their favorite card and stories about how they got it. Listening to them talk made me realize that working for a trading card company was going to be pretty cool.

I had originally thought that the trading card industry had gone the way of eight-track tapes and pet rocks. It wasn’t until I started researching Press Pass and trading cards that I realized how alive and active the trading card industry is today. I didn’t know about all the blogs, forums and v chat sites that were solely dedicated to trading cards. It was quite an eye-opening experience and helped get me really excited for my new job.

On my first day at Press Pass I was given a box of 2008 Speedway to open. I will be honest, it was the first time I’d ever busted wax before...and it was great. I loved the rush and the excitement of not knowing what I was going to pull. I marveled at the amazing design and how the cards seemed to grab your eye. I was jumping for joy (on the inside of course) when I pulled an autograph; a Greg Zipadelli autograph which I still have at my desk and I will take with me on my future endeavors. Again I will state I didn’t know anything about NASCAR, but just the fact that I pulled an autograph I thought that was awesome. When I was done opening the box I realized how lucky I was because I had been given a new experience. It was that joy and excitement that I tried to think of every time I talked to a collector. For the last two years I talked to a lot of collectors and have truly enjoyed getting to know them and help them with their collections.

There are a lot of things that I have gained from working at Press Pass, but one of biggest things that I’ve gained is a love trading cards.

Thank you Press Pass and the Press Pass collecting community for everything over the past two years, I will miss you!

Allison Ranson