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It’s a fever that is sweeping the land before the start of the World Cup games. “Figurinhas da Copa do Mundo,” also known as “soccer card collector binders.”

The task is to collect a card for each player on the national teams of the World Cup and fill your album. The idea is to fuel the passion for soccer, to fan the flames of excitement, and to teach people about the stadiums where the matches will occur, and about the various countries and players who will participate. Each country page contains 17 player card spots, plus one team shot, and the teams coat-of-arms, which is metallic holography. Plus there are cards of the stadiums, and other elements of the event.

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The album also features information about the each team in the playoffs, recalls the champions, and provides the schedule of games to be populated with the results throughout the competition.

The paper albums sell for R$5.90 (US$2.66), and cards are available in packs of five for R$1 per packet. A luxury, hard-bound version of the album is available for R$24.90. Those who spend R$50 for cards are eligible to win a FIFA soccer ball.

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Fortunately, we have no kids here in Brazil, so we’re not being swept up into the craze, though it’s a craze certainly not confined to the kids. Adults are being sucked into the melee, scrambling to find all 640 cards to fill their albums. In addition, there are apps for keeping track of what cards you have, what cards you still need, and how many “extras” you have for trading.

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This all sounds reasonable, the there is a fever here for these cards. Kids take the albums to school to trade, and are relieved of the albums in class by exasperated teachers who are tired of the students’ wandering attention. At the US Consulate next week, there will even been a card-trading event a lunchtime, as adults trade cards for their own albums, or for their kids who just need a final few to complete their collection.

As far as I’m concerned, this is just another way to put mega-bucks into FIFA’s pockets, and I’m opposed to that on so many levels. So, I resist.

Listening to our friends, however, we remember how easy it is to get caught up in “collector’s fever,” as we saw when our kids were little: Beanie Babies, Pogs, Pokemon Cards, etc. From our great remove as “empty nesters on the run,” we are able to pull back from the fray and avoid the fever. With the Internet, I don’t really see the point of the albums. But, well, maybe I should just get an album, and maybe some cards of my favorite players….NOPE. NOT GONNA DO IT!

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