The autumn weather has today arrived in full force, ensuring that Ben’s first under 7’s friendly was a truly muddy affair. With some good enthusiasm across the whole team, though having lost to a number of goals in the first half, a really good goal run down the field by Ben’s best friend really lifted the spirits of the team, even as the heavy rain kicked in the second half. With Ben sitting in goal, maintaining his smile throughout, I did my bit by shouting with all the other dads from the sidelines, which obviously made a huge difference to game. After the final whistle, although thoroughly soaked to the skin, Ben was rewarded with the man of the match trophy for his efforts.

The truth is, while I have never been a follower of football even though throughout my own schooling it was a major part of the sports program, I can the see benefits it brings to Ben with the experiences of team play, communication, and commitment that are building important foundation skills for later in life. What was preached by our own parents seems obvious now, but when you’re young and free from the realities of the world, the bigger picture just isn’t clear.

As a parent, my role isn’t written down as a set of neatly printed instructions – to be honest there is a heavy dose of creativity required. It’s a bit like buying a new flat-pack unit where the instructions are in chinese – just when you think you’ve figured it out, you’ve actually put the shelf on backwards. Then when you feel like giving up because it’s taken so much time already, you just push through and make the pieces fit, because it’s the end result that matters.