You know, you see them on the side-lines at every football/hockey/rugby match up and down the country barely able to contain themselves as they holler from the side-lines exhorting their Little Darlings to “Get in there! Get a move on! Pass! For Chissakes pass!”
Their Little Darlings look more like exhausted automatons desperately trying to live up to expectation and wear grim looks of determination rather than those of sheer exuberance and joy in the sport.
Their parents have had them playing since almost before they could crawl and have put them up for every coaching course going with the excuse “But he loves it.”
You politely ask when they showed such aptitude and you usually get it that they picked it up from Daddy who was once a very keen sportsman before he became prosperous in the City.
Quite how they picked it up when you know said Daddy would find it hard running for a bus let alone for a Rugby ball is beside the point. You just know that the child has had the talk and been shown the numerous team photographs of Daddy at his pre-prep school, which was lucky to field one let alone two teams with everyone in the school playing.
Or else you get the smug response: “I have no idea! Neither his father or I were very keen on sport.” Which basically means they were crap at school sports and never got in a team and now they are determined to make up for the omission.
The ignominy of being left out of not being good enough has marred them in some inexplicable way despite relative success in later life. They are determined to be one of the in crowd this time through their kids making it into the top team at the school or club. They are utterly ruthless.
In fact I fear I was nearly as bad. I chucked The Boy into extra hockey coaching over the summer so that he might stand a fighting chance of getting into the “B” team. I, of course, asked if he would like to play hockey, but only after he was signed up. And he sweetly said yes. But I didn’t really admit to myself that possibly I wanted him to be the “B” team rather more than he did. He would be happy just playing and talking to folk. In fact he talks to a lot of people and finds out loads of stuff when he should be watching the ball. It doesn’t matter to him all that much if he wins or loses until, that is, he sees us grown-ups then his smiles will disappear and he’ll go how horrid it was that the team lost again.
I bemoan the fact that he’d rather pick daisies than play and try to get people to laugh about it. I down play his abilities because I suppose I am disappointed he is in the bottom team at school and I have to get my head round that. My dreams of him being pushed into the A team because of his extra coaching and then having a stellar career on the field are just dreams and more importantly mine not his. He’d just like to have the occasional away match so he could nosey about at another school, meet loads more people and chat. For him sport at present is about having fun.
I keep forgetting how horrid it is to see pushy parents and how sorry I feel for those kids who land up loathing the thing they are actually quite good at...I need to learn a whole lot from my son.