Football. I guess it’s a boy/man thing. I don’t understand it. I don’t like it. It bores me to watch it on telly. Footballers are, in my own opinion, overpaid and underworked. I can’t comprehend how football supporters get so worked up about it, even going to the extreme of fighting/clashing over the game. Going to an actual match though is a very different kettle of fish. I don’t actually mind going to a football match.
G, my youngest, has shown an interest in football for quite a while now – he is only 2 years old – but he will sit and watch it on telly, he loves chasing and kicking a ball around the house (despite yours truly repeatedly telling him not to!), and has even started making goals out of inanimate objects to play shooting goals in the garden. Its exceptionally sweet to watch. But makes me wonder if it is a natural thing for boys to take an interest in sport. Are they drawn to any physical activity that requires a ball? Is it in their DNA? Part of the “cave-man” make up. Is it testosterone related?
It’s not just football G likes. Rugby is also a favourite. (I DO shout LOUD if his rugby ball is thrown around the house Those things have a life of their own!). Cricket, he will also sit and watch this too – whereas it sends me to sleep!
With this in mind the Husband took G to his first football match last Saturday. It has been something we had been discussing for a while. Worried he was too young, would get bored, hungry, etc , etc. However, we bit the bullet and decided to go for it. (I selfishly I encouraged it – it allowed me to do some girly shopping with my girls, without a buggy to manoeuvre around, something I have not done properly in around four years!).
Husband has had a season ticket at Ipswich Town Football Club for many years and goes regularly to all home matches with Mr D, his long time friend, and sometimes Mr D’s daughter goes too. Last season L used to tag along, but this year she’s decided she’s bored of football. Husband continues to go, albeit childless, therefore leaving all three children with one fully paid up subscribed member for the football widows association. There are many members; you can see us usually on a Saturday afternoon walking around in whatever town centre is our location of choice/nearest football ground, being harassed by the children left in our care, surrounded by numerous carrier bags, being relentlessly nagged – “Muuuuuuum! can I have insert-an-unneeded-and-so-to-be-unloved-and-discarded-toy-here?”, ” Muuuum! I’m thirsty.”, “Muuuuum, I’m hungry.”, “But Muuuum I reeeeeeeaaallly neeeeeed one of these!”, and my favourite “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuum I really really need a wee/poo NOW!” You know who we are, you’ve avoided us and I don’t blame you. We are frazzled, hot, sweaty, shouty, mutter swear words under our breath, give sheepish smiles to those people that our children offend/shove. We are the mums who are close to tears and constantly checking our watch to see how much longer we have to endure this torture while our beloved spouses are tucked away in the football ground thoroughly enjoying their child-free afternoon.
So you can imagine my delight when last weekend Husband announced that he would take G to football! I would tell you that I ran around the house whooping, cheering and punching the air, but I didn’t. I calmly and quietly agreed and voiced the obvious concerns any mum would have – “You’ll have to take his rucksack with a snack, a nappy, a bottle of water/milk, some wet-wipes.”, “how will you cope if he gets bored?” “You won’t leave him unattended will you?”. I voiced these concerns, but actually in all honesty, I was going through the motions. G WAS GOING TO FOOTBALL AND I WAS GOING SHOPPING WITH MY GIRLS! I did a little and very much unwitnessed victory dance and concentrated on my afternoon of no buggy, girly shopping.
Of course I was the teeniest bit nervous about leaving my beautiful boy. Of course I knew he would be fine. Of course I’m worried that he’ll turn into a football hooligan. Of course I hoped he liked it enough to go again.
He looked so miniature walking into the ground with Daddy and “Uncle D”. But he went off with such a face-filled smile, that I relaxed and almost skipped off to the highstreet. And the girls and I had a lovely time. Ok so I still got frazzled and my feet still ached. I had to endure two trips to Claire’s Accessories, fight my way around and spend an age queuing in Primark, I still had to move at the speed of light to stop T from knocking over some gorgeous porcelain figures in a gift shop, do one toilet trip and we finished by a lengthy but in my opinion deserved stop of Costa coffee.
Meeting the boys back at the car, brought home to me just how quickly G has grown up in those few short hours. He was carrying a brand new football and wearing a woollen football hat, he had clearly had a lovely time. It then dawned on me, that this football match was as much for Husband as it was for G. They are each other’s favourite person and this was special time for them, just like my girly shopping was for me and my girls.