Congratulations, It’s A Boy! And He’s Sports Mad.

How did that happen?

I am not natural athlete. I dabbled at sports and although I was pretty good at badminton, tennis and squash, I simply never had the passion to be great. My dad was always the kid that was picked last but mum tells me she had some talent.

Husband Dean is a bit of a sporting natural. Soccer, basketball, cricket, rugby…. You know one of those men who was good at everything. He still is, annoyingly (only because I am not).

Passion, a powerful emotion of boundless enthusiasm.  No truer words to describe my son and football (Australian Rules). Let me explain. He doesn’t just play the game. He studies it. He records and watches games over and over on the television. On YouTube, he watches games, highlights and instruction videos. Most of the apps he uses on the IPad are sports related; the same goes for Xbox. The expensive grass in the backyard is in tatters with the constant running, throwing, batting and kicking. In temperatures close to freezing, he is still out there in his shorts and t-shirt. The trampoline doubles as a space for him to toss balls up as high as he can in the air, catching them to practise his marks*.  All of this while he commentates. Even that he does with the utmost fervour. Harvey was 7 years old when Dean stripped the original commentary off this youtube video and overdubbed it with Harvey’s version.

At times, he drives me crazy with the incessant ball throwing, kicking and commentating inside and outside the house. It’s a constant battle to get him to wear long pants. Yet, we cannot help but indulge him. I have been to more football matches in the last two years than I have been in my entire life ten times over. We send him to football camps and he plays with the local teams both days on the weekend during winter. We recently drove more than an hour to a clinic at the Geelong Cats stadium where he spent three hours meeting and kicking a ball around with some of his favourite players. His jersey is filled with autographs. So now the jersey sits by the laundry tub patiently awaiting my decision as to whether to wash it or not! In the highly unlikely event that the ink will run, I will be even more devastated than Harvey.

A real case of Where's Wally.. An avid Geelong Cats supporter, Harvey is one of around 800 kids at this clinic

A real case of Where’s Wally.. An avid Geelong Cats supporter, Harvey is one of around 800 kids at this clinic

Suddenly, without even realising it, I have turned into a footy mum. In cases of rain, I take plastic garbage bags to sit on and a hand towel to wipe the seats. In cases of cold, I take a blanket to keep warm. I may look like an Eskimo and suffer from beanie hair but I don’t care. I am not a thermos person but I may even succumb just because I can. I surprise myself by actually enjoying the game with the occasional passionate outburst. As an added bonus, I quite enjoy watching men with beautiful muscles. Why had I not noticed that before?

To wash or not to wash? Number 26, his hero.

To wash or not to wash? Number 26, his hero.

It seems Harvey is showing the same passion for cricket. As for becoming a cricket mum? The jury is still very much out on that one.

I wrote this a little while back and posted it on facebook. It gives you a bit of an insight how passionate these kids can get.

It is Thursday afternoon, Harvey’s favourite day at after-school care as Josh, one the guys that works there, organises a footy match between the kids. Josh is both player and umpire. Most of the kids are kitted out in their footy jerseys; Harvey has the whole outfit – Geelong jersey, socks and shorts. Today is the grand final and when I arrive, there is around 10 minutes to go.

The final siren sounds (Josh makes the appropriate noise). Harvey kicks the ball to his team mate, who in turn kicks it to Ben who takes a mark*. The pressure is on. Ben has to kick to tie the match. There is silence on the field, even from the parents who are watching. Ben takes a few moments to compose himself and sets himself up to kick the ball. He drops the ball on his foot and boots it. The moment descends into slow motion. The ball flies high through the air. It has the distance but does it make it through the centre goals? From where I am standing, it looks in. But NO, it just misses. One point is not enough to tie the time. My eyes dart over to Harvey. By this time, he is staring up at the sky with his hands clasped around the back of the head. He slumps down to his knees in total despair. Seems an eternity before he peers up. By now, tears are streaming down Ben’s cheeks. His team mates are crying as well. The other team, in the meantime, are jumping up in the air in jubilation, hugging and patting each other on the back. Josh has even given them a mini grand final trophy. Harvey gets up slowly, walks over to Ben and pats him on his back. He nods at his team mates in acknowledgement of what just occurred. He saunters over to me trying so hard not to let the tears show. But it’s not working.

These kids are 6,7 and 8 years old. Shudder to think what they will be like in 10 years time.

*To mark a ball is to catch a ball

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