By Sarah Tolmie
“My kids play soccer throughout Winter. I really do not enjoy going. It is early, cold, often wet and I get very triggered by the loud shouty, almost bully parents on the sidelines. How do I endure? Is it ok NOT to go?
I really feel for you. When our two sons played soccer and AFL for a brief while too, we used the pray it would rain so that soccer would be cancelled and we could sleep–in warm and snug. Some fields would be an hour away. It was an all–round groan as it rolled around each week. Sometimes I would even notice the boys didn’t want to go either.
And then this amazing thing would happen. You’d go. It would feel like a nice ‘community thing’. Most of the time the kids would have fun. There’d be a bacon and egg roll morning barbecue, cute little dogs would be vying for attention, and the sun would pop through sometimes too. You’d chat to the other parents and get the news and know your kids’ friends a bit better.
At the end of it all, you felt you did a good thing. The family had an outing and you had a real reason to run away from the housework.
Sure, hubby and I did a bit of tag teaming and lift sharing with other parents just to stretch out our endurance over the entire season. But here’s the strangest thing. When it all ended for us, when our boys stopped playing for a while, and later, when they resumed as young adults with cars and driving themselves, we missed it! I’d have to haggle with them to invite me to come and watch.
Only this Mother’s Day, I wandered down to watch my son now 19 years, play in an adult team with all his young mates. They had champagne and croissants for the ‘mums’ and a team photo with the mums at the end of the game. I can’t tell you how proud I felt. Put in the hard yards, and life and love will deliver these sweet moments that make it all worthwhile.
Community sport is a great thing. Whether it is nippers, soccer, netball, football, swimming, cricket, water polo etc, if your kids want to do it, support them. If they are unsure, encourage them to try. If they really don’t want to play, be a volunteer or supporter, because there is something about the community building, egalitarian, family friendly atmosphere that encodes inclusivity, respect and engagement in a child’s ethos.
And as for those triggering parents on the sidelines. My approach was to stand with and amongst them. Have a friendly chat and find out about their community. Comment positively on both teams. Enthusiastically cheer great play from any player and applaud the goals of each team. Model that for the team and other parents and this can help to create a more friendly, fun and enjoyable atmosphere
Go well. Much love
Sarah Tolmie – Life and Love: Sarah is a marriage therapist, life and love and relationship coach, end–of–life consultant, an independent and bespoke funeral director and holistic celebrant. She provides holistic care, mentoring, guidance, healing and transformation for individuals, couples and families at their most important times of life and love – at end–of–life, in love and relationship, and in ritual and celebration. Sarah has a relationship online course for couples called “Creating a Miracle Marriage” and a free resource and video series for families facing dying, death and grief called “Landscapes of Life and Love and Loss”. To find out more, visit www.sarahtolmie.com.au and www.miraclemarriage.com.au