‘Wow, you’ve done 50 questions in FIFTY FOUR SECONDS?!’
‘Well, the problem is, Mum, I know the answers quicker than I can write them down.’
He’d done 50 questions in 54 seconds and he thought it wasn’t good enough. He thought he needed to make an excuse why it wasn’t better. But I thought it was amazing.
Something has happened to my brilliant, talented younger son lately. He’s lost some confidence. I’m not sure quite when it happened, but it’s sad to see. He has got so much going for him – so much ability, so much talent and he’s such a lovely boy on top of it all, yet he’s not quite the boy he once was.
It’s most noticeable in rugby. My boy is a very good rugby player, there is no doubt. But success at their team has bred success. A team that was on the brink of folding just over a year ago due to lack of players has grown massively recently. It’s now full of confident, competitive private school boys. Boys who play rugby at school as well as at the weekend. And boys who are there with their school friends. Boys who, in short, don’t feel the need to pass the ball out to the winger they don’t know.
And that poor winger will call for the ball, but his calls will fall on deaf ears. They would rather pass the ball inwards than outwards. Inwards and into the thick of the opposition rather than outwards into space. If my boy got that ball he would run with it and score a try. We’ve seen it happen many times. But those new boys have never seen it, because my son never gets the ball. They’re such a strong team that even passing the ball right into the centre of the pitch, surrounded by the opposition, won’t stop them scoring. So why bother using the wing?
And my son comes off the pitch sadly because he hasn’t touched the ball. Again.
But you were on the pitch! At least you got picked to play. You were in the right place! They could have passed to you. You could have scored.
But it’s not really enough, is it? The truth is, the score would have been the same if there had been nobody on the wing at all. As the game progresses, I can see his confidence leaving his body. His head sinks a little lower, he appears more and more detached from the team. This isn’t the under 8’s coach’s player of the season. This isn’t the saviour of the school rugby team. This is someone we barely recognise. A boy who has somehow lost his confidence and is struggling to get it back.
He’s still a fantastic footballer for his club team, but school football has done nothing for his confidence at all. He has been put on the left wing, the one position he has never played in before. He was dropped from the team for several games and, on his return, he was bossed around by a cocky year 5. The year 5 (not the goalie) insisted on taking the goal kicks and did them really badly. My son has taken goal kicks in the past and they’re good – accurate and travel a long way. Why didn’t he take them? And why did the year 5 go forward instead of him? Why didn’t he ask to change positions in half time like the other players?
Apparently the year 5 was the captain. (But why? Surely being captain is the right of a year 6?) My son didn’t feel he could question him because he was the captain. He didn’t feel he could ask to change position at half time because they weren’t supposed to (despite the fact that the rest of them ask anyway and sometimes get listened to). So he let himself get walked all over by everyone and came home from the football match feeling thoroughly miserable.
I don’t know why he won’t stand up for himself. When you’re in year 6 and the head boy, there’s no better time for standing up for yourself and having teachers and other pupils listen to you. But he won’t do it.
I’m not sure what has happened to my boy, but I really hope we get our confident son back soon.