so it was 2003. i had just graduated high school, and it was prime graduation party season. the national was in atlantic city, nj that year. i had dreamed of going to the national since i saw pictures of it in beckett as a wee lad. the only day i could go was the last day on a saturday. the only problem was that my best friend's graduation party was the friday before. i knew this party would go on until saturday morning around 3 or 4 am. there would also be some chicks that i definitely wanted to make some headway with. oh the dilemma.
well i did what any 18 year old collector would do. i checked out of the party at about 11 pm and went hope to get some sleep before starting my 7 hour trek at 4 am. this is where is went bad. first i slept in and didn't get out of town until about 8:15. then, once i arrived in atlantic city, map quest failed me and i was lost. after driving around until almost 4, i pulled over at a gas station and asked the first person i saw for directions.
well, that person was quite a character. he was carrying a brown paper bag with a bottle inside it. hmm, i didn't think it was pepsi. he said, "oh yeah, i know where that's at. let me get in." i froze at that moment. what should i do? do i let him in? do i drive off? my mom would kill me if i let him in. i cant be rude and just drive away. this guy is freaking drinking right now. is he gonna rob me?
well, he walked around the car, got in, and made himself comfortable by reclining the seat way back. he had me drive him to where he wanted to go and then pointed me in the right direction from there. i finally made it with about 1.5 hours left in the show. many vendors had packed up already, but i didn't care. i mean, i was at the national!!
i quickly spent my $200 i came with and then drove home in the worst rainstorm i had ever experienced. all things considered though, it was a good day. i did walk away with a poorly centered rickey henderson rookie. its what i really wanted at the time.
check out espn.com writer's, bill simmons, story about his trip to the national. he has many pictures, its a fun read. do you have any national stories to share?