Soccer Mum

Saturday, 9 May 2009

I'm not the most competitive person. I'm happy to let people win and I can actually be happy for them while they do it. I do like to achieve but don't need to beat someone in order to feel like I've done so.

Sounds twee - but aren't we all winners?

My son, Riley (6) is not like me.

He not only has to beat people, he has to stand in front of them with his finger waggling in their face and let them know he has done so (just in case they missed the fact). He's so bad, he's one of those kids other parents stare at scornfully or woefully. There have been shaken heads at my son, oh yes there have.

Of course, being the conscientious and interactive parents that we are, Riley is often hauled aside post-win/thrashing and reminded (most earnestly) that you're an even bigger winner if you do it in a sportsman-like way. We also tell him that while it's fine to win, it's the way the game is played that matters... all the stuff us parents are expected to impart.

The idea of such sportsmanship is creeping into his highly competive brain ever so slowly. At least he's stopped doing a little chicken dance to accompany the finger in the face. He's also stopped scalding his mates if they fling that leg and miss the ball. Because, of course, Riley is just SOOOO perfect.

And in fact, he is. Well, not perfect. But good. Like, really good. And I promise I'm being objective here. Of course, Husband hops around like a flea every time Riley plays (and tries to curtail his desire to chicken dance in front of the other dads... hmmm, wonder where Riley gets it from... he's Northern Irish, so it's in his blood, after all). He also gives me a ceaseless commentary on how tactical Riley is, how he reads the play and what a natural he is.

I just stand there quietly and smile. I don't know much about soccer but it is clear Riley's a natural and of course, as it would be for any parent, it's sheer delight to see my child excel at something he loves. The fact that he wins doesn't matter to me - it's that he just loves soccer so much (sportsmanship-mastering notwithstanding).

And today's final score? 10 to 3. Riley scored all 10 goals, and two of the opposition's goals were scored while he was tying his soccer boot laces.

My son the soccer star.

Maybe I'm more competitive than I thought. Lordy Lord. Have I become a soccer mum?

Riley suffers simultaneous shoe-lace tying and opposition goal-scoring. Oh the agony.

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