Occasionally they break, and of course, they think Daddy is the James Andrews of toy repair, and that they will all be good as new. Some close, some...not so close.
As I was drilling, taping, etc. it occured to me that their toys are like NFL players. They have their favorites, which change on occasion due to passing fancy. However, the one thing that can instantly end the career of any toy (or player) is injury.
Take the dollar-store ninjas. They were a buck each, and they are the favorite toy of my youngest (they are just right to be "tall" guys for her little princess dolls. And to beat up Dinosaurs trying to kidnap the damsel in distress). However, as dollar toys do, they tend to break fairly easy.
When they break, I have two options: Dump em in the trash, or fix them. I usually try to fix them first, but after a while it gets ridiculous. One ninja has one leg at the thigh and the knee taped in place, both elbows, and his neck to keep his head from falling off. I nicknamed him "Kevin Jones" for continually surviving injury.
The Ninjas are not a big deal when they break because they only cost a buck. Thus, I am not as concerned as when, say my nephew's $30 Buzz Lightyear fell apart after a week. Less expensive players that are injury risks, such as dollar ninjas (guys at vet minimum), are a better risk than a Shaun Alexander $30 Buzz Lightyear that has a propensity to look good a first, but break as soon as its used. Much more money down the drain -- in getting it, and trying to fix it. But it sure does look neat coming out of the box!
Also, sometimes they can be repaired as good as new, other times they are still very usable, but a little more limited, other times...well, they are the Kevin Everett of toys. They survive, but they aren't going to be hitting anyone ever again without falling apart permanently.
Once again, Lions players came to mind tonight. Ernie Sims had some minor surgery on his shoulder -- kind of like the ninja whose arm had fallen off, but nothing was broken. I managed to pry it back on, and it works just as well as it always did -- even though, eventually, it will break down.
He is usable, but barely.
And how much more money in tape am I going to spend on him? If he were the $30 Buzz I might hang onto the the toy longer... say, like through two major injuries and lots of minor ones like a GM does with first round draft picks...but a dollar ninja?
Interesting side note: My nephew got two Buzz Lightyears -- one big one, and one we got him for about $5 bucks. It didn't have a lot of fancy features, just a good solid figure that moved pretty well, and was an off brand that still looked enough like Buzz to please my nephew. "Big Buzz" has wings that fall off his back when you put them away, his arm chop doesn't chop - it falls off when you press the button, and his bubble helmet falls off if you tip him upside down: He is more like a dollar ninja than big money toy now. Not worth a whole helluva lot, but a lot more wasted money down the drain. "Almost Buzz" has been used harder, and is still in perfect shape -- the fake Buzz is going stronger because he was built for using, not for show. Funny...Millen skipped the $30 Buzz that looked good in the box in the draft and went for the $5 Dollar Off-Brand Action Figure that can get the job done. Lesson learned - don't overspend on high-use toys. You're just out more money when they break.
Basically, in the NFL, there are a lot of different injuries. There are the Screw came loose, but it can be replaced and almost as good as new. Then, there's the it needs to be worked on, but it the end it works close to the same. Finally, there are those injuries where the player may be useful, but they are not at all what they once were. And odds on are, the further down the line a player or a toy gets, the more likely it is they will have the last, final injury that sends them to the scrap heap.
Kevin Jones, S. Alexander, and Daunte Culpepper are examples of broken Buzz Lightyears to me: They held promise - but injuries have made them less than what they were -- and more fragile. Sure, they can still be useful to a team -- at a buck a pop; they are no longer $30 Buzz Lightyears, or even $5 Action Figures - they are $1 ninjas: possibly useful in certain situations, plentiful, cheap, and prone to breaking. The only thing I wonder is: Do they know it yet?