How One Man Made a Huge Difference for Women in the World of Sports Cards. Meet @Peter_Packman
Updated: Jan 26
When I first started the Instagram page called Giant Legends, I found that men were following the site in far greater numbers than women. This was curious because the page was only about female athlete trading cards printed pre-1972, but it also made sense because boys grew up with sports cards where few girls did.
Peter was different. He wasn't just a collector of cards...he actively and intentionally wanted to lift up women in the hobby - both collectors and athletes. He had my attention.
If you're in the hobby long enough, you'll soon realize that the people in the hobby are just as cherished as the cards themselves. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Peter ever since that post and I felt it was due time to feature a great man and share his story on how he has influenced women's sports cards, children and music. Peter's focus is on creating music for the hobby and with two creative partners, has developed Rip Pack & Slab ("RPS"). RPS puts out videos daily through their various social media channels. The array of creativity is amazing. Within the genre of rap, their lyrics are catchy, thought provoking, toe-tapping and might even make you look at the hobby of collecting sports cards differently. There's even a song that pays homage to female athletes on cards ("Who Do You Collect").
OHM - Tell us about yourself?
Peter - I am the Dean Of Students at Montalvin Manor K-8, Richmond, California. I consider myself "a caring and consistent" adult that wears any hat needed on a day to day basis. My role focuses on culture and climate in our community while modeling our core values: empathy, agency, community, compassion. I love using play (recess/games) and story telling to build rapport and relationships with our community members and students. Using play, sports, stories...as bait...to reel them in for whatever I want to share or teach. I've been serving communities for 20 years now.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about family and community. Family was the first thing I knew and loved. My family have always been there for me and have always instilled giving back to others. I am passionate about making others feel valued and bringing out the best within themselves!
How did you get into music?
As it pertains to the hobby, I got into music as a joke. My brother(Marcus/Slabby Sosa) and I wanted to make 1 funny parody song about the hobby. When we shared the idea with our cousin (Jahvid/Rip HamilTopps) he convinced us that making hobby music would be historic and fun. It was during the pandemic and we were all stuck at home. Making music was a way for us to still make memories and share the hobby, together.
What hurdles did you have in pursuing your passion?
The journey and learning process is always a hurdle. The hurdles I put up for myself as far as doubt, low confidence all are present...but they are hurdles...so we see them coming and jump over them. Or we knock them over, fall down, get back up and go at the next hurdle. At times my biggest strength can be a hurdle, too. I feel like a hurdle can be whatever is in the way at that particular time and we have some control around what we actually believe is a hurdle.
What do you love about sports cards?
I love the stories behind everyone who is involved in any single card. The photographer, artist, athlete, writer...all have a "why". That "why" allows me to understand and learn about not only the card, but the human behind the card. Those "why's" turn into stories. Those stories are told over and over and inspire and help many.
When did you start collecting cards and why?
I started collecting sports cards in 1989 when I was six years old. I was privileged in my own right, While my family didn't have much money (we lived in an apartment in Berkeley, Ca in the 80's-90's and would often borrow sugar, milk, eggs from our neighbors) my father would always take me (and my brother) to card shops, flea markets, toy stores and allow us to pick something we liked (within budget). Packs, wax and cards were right after toys for us. The toys were imagination and super heroes. The players on the cards were reality and real life heroes to me. I loved looking at the players in action on the card! I loved reading the stats and finding common things between me and athletes. Our father always opened packs with us too, so it was where we got to spend time together.
Has your love for the hobby changed over time?
Yes. My love has grown. For 30+ years I collected for myself. I collected because it was fun. I collected because it made me feel good. But now I want to share those feelings and emotions with others. I want to show others that there is a lot of history and opportunities for personal and professional growth via the hobby.
How did you connect your love of music with your love of sports cards?
It was the hobby/trading cards, Jahvid/Rip & Marcus/Slab who really made the connection possible. Prior to August, 2020 I had never made any music of any kind. It wasn't a passion of mine. I love cards! So I just started to play around with it artistically in the form of music. It was a challenge...I love challenges. I love trying new things when there's a "why" behind it.
You've been a great supporter of women in the hobby and women featured on sports cards. Why is this important to you in this male dominated hobby and why are women athletes on cards important to you?
Women's representation in the hobby is important for every reason! First off, we can't avoid the fact that women are underrepresented and undervalued in general. Women are still NOT given the same opportunities and appreciation as men. This is present in sports and in sports cards. It's a reflection of us all. Pointing the finger/blame back on myself helped me see where I was contributing to the problem. I love, honor and respect women in real life! But my collection did not reflect that. My actions didn't reflect that. My words didn't reflect that. I realized in my world/community, that I was part of the problem. I've been trying to learn more and more ever since. Women are important because everyone is important! When we value women in the same light we value men, we will all benefit more than ever! Men are stubborn and are taught to be in "control"....it's time we re-teach.
How have your students been affected by your love of cards and learning about former female athletes?
My students love learning about female athletes! When they even see a girl/woman on a card they are in AWE!! They get excited! The boys love learning about women athletes, too! Honestly, we all learn together. I can't act like I know all the athletes or everything about them. But I do know who/what kids are inspired by and why. So learning together is the best way!
Where can people find RPS music?
Our music is available on all streaming platforms! Itunes, Imusic, mazon, Goole, Tidal, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram and more! Just search "Rip Pack & Slab" or any of our individual artist names; Rip HamilTopps, Peter Packman & Slabby Sosa.
What are your hopes and dreams for RPS?
We hope to bring joy and opportunities to communities. We want to show others how gifted and special they are for all they bring to this world. And to share that with others. We Believe "hobby music" can be a genre of music that collectors of all kinds add value to and enjoy. It's an art. We want to see and hear what others have to offer and value it ! We believe hobby music is a bridge people can cross to explore the hobby.
What else would you like people to know?
In the words of my Knocka (The Most Electrifying Man in Wax), "We are here for a good time, not a long time". Spend that time loving yourself and others as much as possible, you are what matters most to us all. We need you! And also, "I am, We are", if it's in the world, then it's in you, too! Always be willing to see others as human, first, whether you agree or disagree with them.