Sunday, 28 April 2013

Kids' Football and the loneliness of the long distance mum.

One down and one to go ... I am talking about football here. As mum of two boys who are football mad I spend most of my Sundays from August through to about now swathed in outrageously michelin man stylee coats, thick scarves, beanie hats and gloves. I long ago gave up trying to look glamorous or, to be frank, even vaguely attractive. The name of the game is to make it through an hour and a half of brain numbingly cold football without developing frost bite or the latter stages of hypothermia.

I share the touchline with a group of other parents whom I would probably never recognise during the summer months. We have no idea what colour hair each of us have, no idea as to the shape of each other's faces. All we have in the way of recognisable features is a set of desperate eyes and occasionally a blue tinged nose peeping over the top of a woolly scarf.

We share a love of our children and a stoic acceptance of our fate. A fate that involves hours of frustration in the cold, interspersed by the occasional shaft of bright sunlight when the boys win ... or even just score.

There is also quite a large level of guilt. This is generally brought on by tournaments. Tournaments take the whole football thing to another level. A tournament means more than an hour and a half on the touchline ... it means possibly a whole day. This involves provision of drinks, snacks, flasks of coffee and a generous amount of chocolate ... and then of course there's the picnic for the kids. The day usually starts with an inordinate amount of optimism regarding the outcome of the competition, but as the day stretches on a parent usually finds themself wishing for losses. After all, if the team loses we all have to go home ... earlier. Unless the fiendish organisers have introduced a "Plate" competition. This is for the teams who have lost everything. Instead of having to go home to a warm house and a nice lunch they get the chance to keep on playing for a plate trophy ... along with all the other bad teams ... How lovely.

So the guilty parent outwardly enthuses about the team's performance, whilst internally they are selling their soul in the desire for it all to be over...

Don't get me wrong ... watching your children play sport can be magnificent. Winning a game can be the most exciting feeling and seeing their faces alive and alight with the joy of victory is just wonderful! But it doesn't seem to happen that often. And spending your weekends acting as taxi, supporter and then psychoanalyst can wear thin after 8 months.

Therefore it is with joy that I can say that Son #2's season has finished today. They have avoided relegation and yet won't have to cope with a tricky higher division either. Of course there will still be friendly matches well into the summer and training will continue for a while, but the pressure of having to attend every single match, no matter the weather and no matter that the opposition plays in Outer Mongolia, is over.

Now I just need Son #1's season to come to a close as well. Then I can gather my strength and spend 4 months preparing the the next season. I am thinking of treating myself to some thicker long johns and possibly a hip flask.

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joy said...

My older two never played football, and the younger two gave up aged about 8 or thereabouts, so you have my utmost sympathy - the only time I've been that cold watching football is when we have paid about £40 each for the pleasure of attending Craven Cottage, where at least we can sit down.
Hope next winter/spring isn't as cold as this year for you.
Joy xx

sarah at secret housewife said...

Thank you Joy!! It isn't always as ghastly as I make out, but I am always relieved when the season's over!! Strongly considering encouraging them to take up an indoor sport next time ... like sewing. x

Older Mum said...

Hello! Love the way you write too! I can't think how cold you must get watching those games - thank goodness I have a little girl, but then she, one day, might be on the hockey team, and then I will be clutching the thermos flask! I'm adding you to my Bloglovin' list :o).

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hi Older Mum! Thank you!! x

Inkling said...

You may look like the michelin man on the outside, but your eyes are exquisitely beautiful. And yes, by all means, treats yourself to epedition weight fleece longjohns and a silver hip flask. =)

Inkling said...

p.s. I didn't say that *I* thought you looked like the michelin man even if you think you do, by the way. Just so you know.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Oh Inkling! I knew what you meant and anyone who says my eyes are exquisitely beautiful can call the rest of me a michelin man anyway!!! xxx