Nestled far in the back corner of my gear closet, behind Super Bowl swag, random cases, bags and other photographic reminders of lifetimes gone I found today my once cherished Kodak fanny pack commemorating the 1988 Olympic Games. Still attached was a marker indicating what was likely the final time it carried my film and Nikkor 24mm f/ 2.8 on the sidelines.
The game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers on September 1, 1996, was the opener of the Oilers’ final season in Houston. The Oilers lost 20-19, setting the stage for a whacky season. Owner Bud Adams had attempted to hold the city hostage for a new stadium but mayor Bob Lanier wanted no part of it. At the end of the 1995 season, Adams announced he was moving the team to Nashville for the 1998 season. Ticket sales went in the tank with an average game attendance of about 20,000 loyalists. The once rowdy Astrodome became a cave where a conversation in the stands would echo about. The team was 2-6 at home that season but somehow managed to go 6-2 on the road. Regardless, the city and the league cleared the way for the team’s departure a year ahead of schedule and so ended my ten seasons photographing the Houston Oilers.
But I digress.
This beat up old thing is the great grandaddy of fanny packs, or waist bags for the fragile of personality. Long before Think Tank was a thought, this bag had travelled thousands of miles and faithfully carried as many rolls of film along with other small stuff I needed to do my job as a photojournalist. It was as critical to my success as the Nikons over my shoulders. I’m not sure why I abandoned it. I suspect it was for some new Lowe Pro design with purple and teal accents lauded by colleagues embarrassed for me and my old worn friend.
Kodak is now but a memory and the spring cleaning will continue though my once favorite bag will not be leaving.