These days most kids probably have a school bag decorated with a picture of whatever the current most popular TV show is (so for the boys it’s probably Ben 10 at the moment, and for the girls maybe still High School Musical, or perhaps Hannah Montana) and that bag is probably a rucksack.
Back when I were a lad though, it would have been more likely to be a holdall style bag (or possibly a leather (or leather effect) satchel when you first started school – I bet they’re hard to track down now). For the girls this would probably have been pink or another girly colour, possibly with a picture of a horse or pony, whilst for the boys it would have undoubtedly been a football team bag, not dissimilar in style to that shown above, which is actually a currently available retro styled bag.
Now, I was never really into football. Sure, I had the odd kick about but since my Dad wasn’t a footie fan he never passed it on to me like many father’s do to their sons. When I first started going to school though, I suddenly discovered that most boys were big football fans, so in an effort to try and fit in I thought I had better start to show an interest too.
Most of the boys at my primary school would have had a holdall with their favourite football teams name on (and perhaps a picture of a footballer, a football or the clubs emblem). Most were also colour coded to the chosen team’s football strip as well.
I remember bugging my Mum for a football team bag, so out we went one Saturday to try and find one. In the end I chose one I liked, which as it happened was a West Ham one, with said picture of a footballer, WEST HAM printed on the side and made from purpley-maroonish coloured fabric. To be honest I didn’t even know West Ham was a football team at this point.
Proudly I went to school on Monday morning, pleased with my new bag, but by the time I came home that afternoon I was perhaps a little dejected. This was when I discovered just how loyal males can be to their football team, and after a day of being asked “Do you support West Ham?” by just about every boy in the school playground, I think I secretly wanted to accidentally-on-purpose lose the damn thing.
I started off wondering what “supporting West Ham” meant? Don’t forget that in our house footie was turned off as soon as it came on the TV, so this was a new concept to me. By the end of play time I realised that there was no correct answer to that question, at least not for me. Answer “Yes” and I was invariably laughed at and told they were rubbish (I’ve no idea whether this was true or not at the time) but answer “No” and I got the obvious follow up question, “Then why have you got a West Ham bag?”.
This experience might have left me with a little mental scar, but it did at least teach me that I shouldn’t worry about trying to please others, and that I should only display my loyalty to something if I really and truly did like it! And with that rather US sit-com style end summary, it only leaves me left to ask, what kind of school bag did you have?