Revelling in the kids’ sporting achievements is a bit of a guilty secret. But, with the protection of anonymity, I’ll be candid. Many of each week’s highlights are things I have seen my kids do on the field or crash-mat of sport.
Each of my kids has a signature activity, which makes me sigh, then breathe a little deeper to savour the moment.
No.1 son has developed into a creative midfielder. In the hurly-burly of under 12s football, he has the presence to collect a ball, stun it, push it to his right and, sometimes without looking up, deliver a clipped pass into a space through or behind defenders. The way he changes the pace and direction of the game looks so much like grown-up football that whatever the outcome of the pass, it draws calls of praise from the Dads. As with each of these favourite things, I love to see it and just don’t know where that confidence on the ball has come from – which can only mean, it’s his.
The one & only D enjoys beam and bars but her best discipline is the floor. Say ‘diminutive’ in a squeaky voice and you begin to imagine the precious sight of the 1&onlyD venturing out onto the mat to perform a routine. Pale, wobbly like a foal on skinny legs and looking terribly vulnerable she finds her starting position and then the music starts and she’s away, tumbling and wheeling, posing and stretching. Where does that courage come from? From the delight she feels from challenging her body.
The football no.2 son plays is still untrammeled by roles and positions. But he has a favoured place: the ball in front of him. Quick and strong, he swoops on the untidy breakdowns that litter under 7s football and powers through or around opponents and team-mates into the unpopulated parts of the field, arcing towards the goal. There’s a force and anticipation to his play that has no obvious genetic source.