Remember when the term “backpack” conjured up mental images of journeys into exotic locales? You know – you versus the elements and all you had to ensure your survival were the contents of your tough and trusted backpack? And the backpack kept your hands free for a QUICK response to any threat. Well, my friend, those mental images may no longer be so readily available to anyone under 40 years of age. Why? Two Words: Tennis Backpacks!! Where have all the REAL backpacks gone?!
I believe today’s under-40 generation has grown-up with backpacks as a basic necessity of life – not a type of gear only for the adventurous. Oh yes – there are still many backpacks designed for the “outdoorsmen” of the world and they are incredibly well-designed (weather proof, tough, comfortable). But now I’ve seen backpacks used in just about any endeavor. Ride a bicycle or motorcycle? Got one for that. Student? Of course!! (man – I used to carry either a plain ol’ bag or, when I felt sophisticated, I carried a leather (faux) attaché case). Entered in the “Amazing Race”? Two monster-sized backpacks, please! And please don’t forget your laptop computer – which has its own special type of backpack.
The sport of tennis has evolved, like most other sports, into a more equipment-intensive activity. Tennis backpacks are merely one of the newer “specialty” items that have really caught-on. Nearly every major tennis equipment manufacturer is making and/or selling them. There are several independent companies that specialize in making ONLY tennis backpacks. Heck – they are now even making the regular racquet bags available with backpack-style straps (for those who need more room than a true tennis backpack allows). And to think it all probably started when tennis players stuck their racquets in a hiking backpack (or whatever style) and discovered it was an easy and comfortable way to get their gear to the courts!
You can buy all sorts of tennis backpacks. There are those that are a “Pro” style with team logos, etc. There are some that have wheels and extendible handles (great when travelling, but I thought backpacks went on your BACK?!). There are inexpensive bags or you can get “designer” bags that I’ve seen at over $ 300 (no – they don’t have any precious stones on them). But they all have one thing in common – they are made specific to the sport of tennis and have some nice features. They have compartments to securely hold your racquet(s). Most have a compartment to hold your on-court water bottle and another to safely secure your keys, wallet, etc. Many have a hook so you can hang it from the court fencing (no need to stoop-over to get an item, plus it keeps the ANTS OUT!). And most have enough room to carry a towel, hats, and some spare clothing.
The greatest thing about tennis backpacks, however, is their usage. Walking to the courts, through the airport, even just to your car, it is much easier to carry versus a shoulder-sling or carrying a bag in one hand. No – a bag shouldn’t weigh that much even when full of your tennis gear (we are not collecting rocks here!) but it’s amazing how once you’ve used a tennis backpack you wonder how you ever survived without one! You can greet your fellow players, sign-in, and “mosey about” with ease. And you may just feel a bit fresher when you hit the courts – a very good thing indeed!
So maybe tennis backpacks ARE about survival after all! Maybe when I hear the term tennis backpack in the future I will envision a rough-and-ready hardy soul ready to conduct battle on the court. Maybe tennis backpacks ARE the real deal.
I guess I won’t feel so bad next time I lose at “love/love” to an opponent who carries a tennis backpack. Nah-losing still stinks!