Why I’m Still Irrationally Angry That Schools Banned Trading Cards Back In The ‘00s

Banning trading cards

Look, I get that schools have to put certain measurements in place for the safety and wellbeing of the students.

However, there’s a difference between looking out for the young’uns and straight-up ruining a good time because you’re crusty and out of touch with the youth.

(All eyes on you, primary-school-principal-in-2001-whose-name-evades-me.)

Case in point: the banning of trading cards.

I was in Grade 3 when the pandemonium surrounding Pokémon cards hit its peak. It was the biggest trend to storm a school since calculator watches (I’m aware this wasn’t actually a trend, but as someone who wore one and thought I was top dawg, I need this), and it was by far the most entertaining.

What wasn’t to love? You’d race down to the milkbar with your chums who all totally wore calculator watches too, you’d hand over your hard-earned dosh to the milkbar man and you’d walk away praying that you got a pack of cards with the elusive shiny Pokémon hiding inside.

I’ll tell you this right now, there was no better high in the world than finding a shiny Pokémon – I’ve been chasing the Charizard ever since to no avail.

From there, you’d go home and sort your cards into piles – the ones you wanted to keep, the doubles you could afford to trade and the duds which you could use as padding if you needed more negotiating power.

School became the place to be. Kids who had previously shown no interest in education were getting there at 6am. Granted, they might’ve been grinding their teeth and itching their arms, but they were there nonetheless.

I also started talking to other kids who weren’t even my age. Some of them were an entire year above me – I was having proper conversations with people who previously didn’t know I existed or, y’know, chose not to know.

Students’ maths skills skyrocketed. It became a commodity to know your timetables and teachers were seeing more hands flailing in the air than ever before. If you knew your stuff, you could make some bangin’ trades without sacrificing more than a Caterpie.

But then, one fateful day, principal no-name called an assembly and within minutes, trading cards were dead.

Everything went dark. We didn’t experience sunlight for four years. The clouds refused to part.

Before trading cards, it was chasey. Before chasey, it was British Bulldog. Before British Bulldog, it was throw-sticks-at-each-other-until-someone-gets-seriously-injured. (Okay, in all fairness that last game was rightfully banned.)

We had nothing left to do at snack and lunch because our school had banned everything we loved. We were scared to smile when we ate in case the principal decided to ban food, too.

Some of the more foolish students held out hope that the trading card ban would lift, but not this nine-year-old realist. I knew they were gone forever and there was nothing we could do to get them back.

Now, I’m not saying that the trading card ban completely ruined me. I moved on and built a new life for myself. Others? They weren’t as lucky.

When I think about poor little Timmy Jones, I just…it’s tew much.

I also have credible intel from the inside that the bans haven’t stopped since I left that place behind.

Tazos. Teeth. Scratch ‘n’ Sniff markers. Everything we love can no longer be anywhere near school grounds and it’s an absolute outrage.

The silver lining? While my childhood can’t be salvaged, I can now, as a legal adult, collect anything until my heart’s content.

I know that you’ve all had the same experience because as soon as those Coles Little Shop minis hit the shelves, there were hoards of 20-somethings clawing over one another to get their mitts on a little Milo, trying to feel the same buzz they got when they found a shiny card all those long, summerless years ago.

Fair warning: Coles Little Shop minis are currently out now so if you’re planning on doing a grocery shop, watch out for the scary collectors – they’ll go for your jugular.

And if you’re concerned about the plastic sitch, Coles have teamed up with RedCycle to deal with the leftover packaging.