So another football season has limped to a close, in a blaze of mediocrity with a fair bit of misery thrown in.
As the coach’s wife and striker’s mum, I think I feel it more than most other parents. It’s not just my own misery I have to deal with, it’s my husband’s and my son’s. Because they work flipping hard at football. They deserve more than mid-table mediocrity.
Every season starts the same – with a flurry of victories. After the first four games of the season, my son was averaging a HAT-TRICK PER GAME – two hat-tricks, four goals in one game and two in another. At the end of the season, he’s scored 26 and is the fifth highest scorer in the league. Still impressive. Still about as good as Jamie Vardy, in an under-12s division 2 kind of way. But not quite fulfilling the expectations of the start of the season.
And then the inevitable descent into mid-table mediocrity begins. Losing game after game. Games we ‘should’ have won. Leading 3-0, but then losing 5-3. Getting a game back to 3-2 and the possibility of a draw, but losing it 6-2 in the final minutes. It’s so predictable it’s depressing.
Why does it happen?
It happens because people don’t commit. Because they don’t prioritise football in the same way that we do.
Three players left during the under 12s season and one has joined and already shown a distinct lack of commitment.
My son gave up rugby this season to concentrate on settling into his new school, starting school rugby and to concentrate on football. Lots of other kids, who’ve never played rugby before, have started rugby this season. And they automatically put it before football. Football that they’ve played for years. Why?
Kids go on holiday, kids are ill. Kids just fail to turn up for weeks on end without an explanation.
And the handful of hard-working, committed team-mates get thrashed every week and watch their team slide down the table. Because there are no subs. Because kids are exhausted. Because sometimes there aren’t even enough kids turning up to field a team of nine, out of a squad of 14. Because the reserve goalie is having to play outfield.
My husband hasn’t missed a single game this season. My son has missed one, for a school musical rehearsal. Two other players haven’t missed any games at all. They deserve better than flaky team-mates and a mid-table finish.
My son had to play a full game with an injury last week, when he shouldn’t have played at all. He flinched in pain every time he finished a run or kicked the ball. But there was nobody to take his place and he cares too much to let the team play with only eight players.
Sometimes being the coach’s wife and the striker’s mum really sucks. I wish I didn’t care as much, but I do.
I wish others cared as much as I do.