Wednesday, 3 April 2013

"I don't care if you don't

want to play football. I want you to play football and you are going to play football and you are going to win because if you don't win you are a loser and I can't tolerate losers."
I doubt I will ever forget those words or that very public confrontation between a father and son in one of our local supermarkets. I often wonder what happened to the relationship between them. I suspect it was not good. 
I know other parents who take a similar attitude - although perhaps not quite as strongly or publicly. Sport is important to them, as important or even more important than doing well in the classroom. Their children have to be in the team, the winning team. If they don't win it is not because the other team was better but because their own child did not try hard enough.
The Whirlwind was here yesterday. She is in the junior cricket team at school and she plays netball because she must play a winter sport. Given the chance she would rather go for a walk, swim, ride her bike or climb a tree. She is not very interested in sport. Fortunately for her she has a father who feels the same way. There are just the two of them. 
       "It's up to her. If she wants to play something that's fine with me. If she doesn't that's fine too," he told me once. He does not expect her to be on the winning team. 
He does expect her to be near the top of the class academically.
      "I know she can do that and that she will be happier if she does achieve but I won't expect her to be top all the time. I want to see her do well but I want her to feel comfortable about the way she does it."
There were questions at the end of last year about subject choices and which sports she would play - a school requirement. 
We were talking about this yesterday and she was telling me about some parents who go to matches.
      "They shout stuff and it puts everyone off," she told me, "It makes you not want to be there. If my Dad came and did that I would absolutely hate it."
Would she be in a netball team?
      "No, I don't want to be in one of the teams. I'm only doing it because I have to - but don't tell Miss K.... that because she's so like it's important but it's just a game."
I know not everyone would agree with that. I hope my own attitude has not influenced her too much although I know her father feels much the same way.
       "And now it's football again and everyone is going stupid over it. I need some more books to read - in case I have to go and pretend to watch - or maybe I might get a new sketch pad - one of those little ones -  and then I could do some drawing."
       "Official sports artist," I say and then have to explain about war artists. 
       "I do not," she tells me, "Want to draw people being stupid and anyway P.... and I have this thing we want to do for her brother."
It turns out they are writing and illustrating a story for a small boy who is still seriously ill after major surgery. I think that is more important than being on the winning basketball team. It will help him recover.


Jan said...

It sounds as if the Whirlwind's head is screwed on straight. I do share her convictions so would feel that way.

I have no problems with those who are good at sport and play well. But making people play? No, thank you.

jeanfromcornwall said...

What a wise young lady she is! Perhaps she gets it from her Father.

JO said...

I'm sure we've all heard parents say ridiculous things like that, and cringed on behalf of the child.

It's so hard not to make a judgement - who's to say Dad's not having a dreadful day and said the first thing that came into his head? If I were judged on all the mistakes I made when I was tired, or stressed at work, my kids would be delinquent! Let's hope he was just having a bad day - we all have them (don't we?)

And the Whirlwind - she'll do just fine!

Anonymous said...

Well done, Whirlwind.

catdownunder said...

I think the Whirlwind will be fine - although she has the occasional issues like any child. I would be very proud of her if she was mine!
Sadly Jo the mother of that boy spoke to me after that outburst (possibly because I looked so shocked) and said that it was not unusual behaviour for her husband. It worried her greatly.

widdershins said...

Ice Hockey parents over here are just as bad, if not worse. A bunch of 'em got into a brawl and the cops had to be called to break it up ... possibly the best definition of insanity!