In keeping with my most recent sport-related posts, this one is about someone else. As a person who deals with people as part of my daily routine in a sales related role, it is unsurprising that in the evenings and weekends, I like a little peace and quiet time with the family. This is more ‘me’, which sometimes has its disadvantages – living in a foreign country does not always help. However, I am very conscious that my kids need to grow up knowing how to interact socially and be accepted in a group of peers. This is something they will need to develop themselves, but encouragement and example are needed.
So to my pleasant surprise, following a slightly late pick-up from school yesterday, my eldest asked to join the local junior football club for their weekly practice. As we had no other plans (but against my usual judgement for this time of day), I asked the coach if he could join for this week to try it out which he kindly agreed to. Watching the excited look on his face (my son, not the coach), it was a pleasure watching him join his young mates on the ‘pitch’ to kick a ball around. The team was training for their first match this Sunday, so the atmosphere was semi-serious, but a good starting point for Alex to learn the basics. After already having spent an hour at his karate lesson, an additional hour on the pitch was pretty demanding for a Friday night after school, but he fared well and stayed in the game admirably.
It’s tough to judge your own son’s level of sportiness. Is it inherited? Are they really a mini carbon copy of their parents with all the same skill sets? As I watched him run with the ball (shouting motivational encouragement such as “GET IN THERE, SON! BE AGGRESSIVE!”), he was happy and keen to show he was involved in the game. As we know, this is part of it of course, but the other part is feeling that competitive spirit and the need to win. Can that be taught? I’ve always enjoyed sport, but more the partaking than the actual winning – probably positive in some ways, but it’s the ‘finishing’ part which I really want to see in the eyes of my children when they are on the field. Again, it probably can’t be taught, and I’m certainly not going to knock their confidence to the degree where they feel the inherent need to prove something to themselves and others. If there’s any psychologists out there, this is where a little advice would be useful. Messed up kids that do well in life, or kids that have fun and are content just to take part? Tough one.
The main point is that he wants to try again next week. Which is good! I just need to learn to let him play and have fun, and supress the need for me to live my life through him. Hey, what do you know, this post is about me! Just a slightly younger version.