You may be raising an eye-brow: I’m writing a blog about my children’s sporting activities, yet the subject of this post isn’t me. No, I’m not obsessed, not in the way Obsessed Dad is.
Obsessed Dad has a very talented young footballer son, with a sweet left-foot, an array of goal celebrations and general mastery of the drama that is the beautiful game. He trains with two of our big, neighbouring premier league clubs.
Obsessed Dad struggles with the task of not talking about his son. He has a measure of control, away from the touchline, so conversations begin with him asking how no.2 son is getting on. I’ll give a non-committal, we’re only here for the fresh air type of answer, but before I’ve fully conveyed the subtlety of my response, he’s away, initially with some understated view that ‘yes, the boy’s doing OK, alright,’ before detailing how his lad played the week before and the goals he did and didn’t score.
When no.2 son wanted to invite the off-spring of Obsessed Dad to his party, I ensured Mrs TL’s number was on the invitation. Fellow dads on the touchline tell me how Obsessed Dad rings them repeatedly to find out how their sons are getting on and having prised open the telephone line out pours his latest bulletin on his own son.
I floored Obsessed Dad at one training session. I asked what his daughter did at secondary school. That was a subject on which he showed no expertise.
On the touchline, during a competitive game, Obsessed Dad is frantic. He paces. Words erupt out of him, “GO ON SON!” “YOU’RE IN THERE, MAKE THIS ONE COUNT”. Then suddenly self-conscious and looking for reassurance, a muttered, “He did well there, the boy. Didn’t he?”
Recently Obsessed Dad has been coming to training sessions accompanied. There’s a baby. A boy. How will this affect his obsession, I wonder. Maybe if the older son doesn’t make it, Obsessed Dad has a second, no third chance.