@protoaddict I absolutely do not want to downplay your story, because personal history is a big part of vintage for a lot of people. I think you're right that it's hard or impossible for some people to split the idea of collecting from the idea of Magic, it is after all a "Collectible" Card Game. I completely understand why many people enjoy the owning and collecting part of the hobby, and I myself have a personal attachment to a lot of the cards I've had for decades.
But I'm really bothered by the idea that someone who owns more expensive cards is somehow more invested in the format, or more worthy of respect. I can assure you, while some opponents and spectators might respect someone more for owning expensive cards, I absolutely do not.
The cheapest Lotus on CardKingdom right now is $10,000, compared to the $1500 you had to pay. Salaries haven't really raised accordingly. That means in order for someone to get the same respect you have for earning cards, they need to be 6 times richer or 6 times luckier than you were.
When I bought my Lotus from SCG, it cost $419. That's about the price of a played Volcanic Island today. If someone today buys a Volcanic Island, in what way are they less worthy than me with my Black Lotus?
Cards today are dramatically higher in part BECAUSE of people like us who got in cheaply and never cashed out. Our bargain-hunting and passion for the format helped drive the lower supply and higher demand that's made a Vintage deck prohibitively expensive to own. My income is somewhere within top 5% for Americans and there's no way I would buy power today if I didn't already own it. Frankly the decision to buy power is pretty irresponsible for most people. This is to say nothing of people who live in other countries trying to buy cards internationally with USD.
I can think of several people who don't one power, some of whom will never be able to afford power, who have made big contributions to the vintage hobby/community, by writing articles, community organizing, developing decks.
When you're friendly and welcoming, when you play to the best of your ability, when you drive the format forward, when you make an effort to improve the experience of the people around you... these are things that make me respect a player.
When I see Alpha power? "Meh, must be nice."