Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Episode Thirty Three: Saturday Sports

Over the last few weeks we have been talking about sacrificing or putting our own experiences aside in order to give our children a full life. This is my own example of putting my money where my mouth is: Saturday Sports.

My Saturday Sports career goes something like this: I played two matches of J.A.B rugby and on my second match got tackled so hard by guys three times my size that I thought, "there has got to be a better way" and that better way was sleeping in on Saturday mornings instead. Fast forward twenty odd years and I've never looked back. My sporting ability extends to backyard/beach cricket in the summer, two square when the mood strikes me and rugby on the trampoline with my kids. True story.

I never grew up in a family that gets up early on Saturday mornings to freeze on some field to play footy or to support someone in our family who was risking frostbite and twisted ankles. When it became apparent that my middle boy was somewhat of a natural athlete my wife and I fretted over the day when he would be old enough for Saturday Sports. Neither of us are particularly athletic, nor fond of doing anything on Saturday mornings

As we all know, our children are sent here to teach us - and test us. My middle boy is no exception. He has dragged his brother and I outside for games of rugby, soccer, throws-and-catches and trampoline sessions more times than we would like. But, that is where he finds his joy. He is a natural at anything physical and while his older brother is some sort of reading savant, the middle boy enjoys having something over his bookworm brother. Natural sibling rivalry, I guess. Running around kicking footballs, throwing softballs and doing flips on the trampoline are his happy place.

It's all very well to write this and say "You know what? I manned up and I enrolled him in soccer this season and that makes me an awesome Dad!". The real truth is, I had to learn how to be a Saturday Sport parent. I've never had one to observe. How do they act? What do they say? How do they deal with disappointment (their child's and their own)? How do they tread that fine line between fair play and win-or-die? How do they deal with their children getting injured by a stray elbow? Chin up, mate or Come on, Ref!!!

Guess what? I don't know. But like all Dads, I'm learning on the job. I'm seeing first hand what my sacrifice is doing for him. He's learning team work, perseverance, commitment and most of all he's learning that his Dad is there for him, whether he's passionate about his pursuit or not.

Unfortunately, your children may not follow in your footsteps. They might not be interested in what you love. But whatever they become interested in, you'll be giving them the world if you put yourself aside and enable them. Whether it be sports on a Saturday, driving them to a Dungeons & Dragons tournament or some other fan dangle thing you don't get. Put yourself aside and put them first. You'll both get so much out of it, trust me.

Have fun!