I may have written a couple of weeks ago about my son the footballer.
Well, things have progressed nicely, thanks for asking so I thought a little progress report was in order.
My son’s team – Burnt Hill 95 (no idea why it is called that) – have been doing very well. They’ve won their last three league games on the trot and are now second in the table.
On Sunday they won their latest cup game which now means they are in the third round of the Suffolk Youth Cup. And I have to say, I’ve got right into it. Every Sunday morning I fetch up at the games to watch along with a fair few other parents, all bursting with pride at their childrens’ achievements.
Even my dad, Adam’s grandad, comes every week and he said something to me that really hit home.
Now, you have to realise that my dad is from traditional Suffolk stock. Doesn’t say all that much and absolutely never expresses emotion and so his comment was doubly surprising.
This is what he said to me:
‘Any professional footballer, who is being a prima dona, holding out for a an extra hundred thousand a week or is generally making a fool of themselves should get down and watch these boys play football.’
I looked at him in surprise and asked him what he meant.
‘Well,’ he said, ‘these boys have just given everything for their team. There was fair bit of aggressive tackling, but there wasn’t one boy who hit the ground who didn’t just jump up again and try to win the ball back.’
And he was right.
The game on Sunday was hard and tough and both sets of boys ran their hearts out. When one of them was tripped up, he didn’t complain, he just got up and there was no thought of retaliation or anything like that. In fact, the ref only had to blow his whistle for the start of the game, a couple of off-sides and one foul.
And then there was another incident.
The coach of the opposition was cajoling his team; nothing wrong with that but he overstepped the mark: ‘Put that big lad under pressure and he always makes mistakes,’ he yelled.
And one of his own supporters stepped in. ‘Come on Brian, that’s not really fair,’ one lady said. ‘It’s alright to get behind our boys but don’t put the others down.’
And, I’m delighted to say, I saw the coach go and apologise to the boy at half time.
Brilliant. I’m almost filling up writing about it.
At the end of the game the lads all shook hands and they’ll all be back next week for more. Not one cross word between either team a not a single dive in sight.
I was standing next to a couple for most of the game and the fella said to me: ‘My boy’s never going to be a footballer, but I always make sure I come and support him. It’s the camaraderie these boys have, it’s brilliant. He’s learning to be part of team, give and take and I don’t mind him playing on his X-Box if I know he’s been running around, getting muddy with his mates for a couple of hours.’
I love it and my faith has been restored in, we’ll pretty much everything really. If only we could all re-discover our innocence. I think the world would be a much better place.