Family Life

Will the son rise? Nobody knows!

Our son is a talented soccer player – and that is its upsides and its downsides

Since I decided in October 2017 to post a new blog piece each Monday, I have watched with satisfaction and relief as my viewing stats have grown, mostly, week by week.

I admit to my rising delight as I check nervously again on the latest piece, and it and those lingering others push upwards in likes and — the ultimate show of appreciation — comments. Likes lovely, comments, “Yes!!!”

And I frown in silent despair as a particular set of stats slows, starts billowing smoke, and soon putt, putts out altogether.

Then there are the pieces I thought might not do well but which did much better than others I sniffily considered superior.

Which bears out William Goldman’s famous dictum, regarding why certain movies soar and others burn and plummet, “Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work.”

I will even admit to responding to the relative success of pieces by looking at why they worked. And responding to that. Responding to market forces, don’t you know?

Parenting-themed pieces, particularly ones around my battles with my young teenage daughter, seem to have struck a chord. Ones with a sporting theme, however, receive barely half the readership of the former.

Why? Well one obvious possible reason is there are many Mom and Dad bloggers out there reading my stuff — and me their’s of course — and many of the Moms, whisper it, are less interested in sport.

I have connected up with many of these Mom and Dad bloggers online, and we have a lovely supportive network going on, following each other on Twitter, tweeting and retweeting each other’s posts, and liking and commenting on Facebook things (I would use Pinterest if I knew how, but wouldn’t even know where to start on Instagram).

I contribute to blog host linkys, whereby you comment or like the host’s post and read and comment on as many others as you like. And vice versa. They’re great and wonderful to be a part of. And they boost readership. Yay!

All this by way of saying as I get to today’s actual theme, I hesitated, because it’s to do with sport! And I am going with it because I want to write what I want to write.

For some time my wife A and I have been on a journey familiar to all those parents and guardians out there who have a sports-mad child, or children.

Our particular odyssey is being shaped more and more by the fact that our son O is, a talented soccer player.

It’s a fascinating ride, already full of adventure and excitement, but it has also given him — and us — plenty of disappointments, and yes, there have been tears, tantrums and tirades, and some eye-opening encounters with people on the same journey. Coaches, other parents and kids. Rivalries, jealousies, camaraderies of convenience and friendships real and apparent.

And some less than edifying reactions from yours truly at certain moments.

Not quite muttered admonishments of O, who plays at left centre back, escaping from me when he makes a mistake; red-faced anger at a poor refereeing decision in the other team’s favour; seething discomfort as a coach or rival parent berates our boy’s tackle that rings down an opponent.

I try to put my frustrations away quickly, but sometimes, it’s all just so intense!

And we are there on the sideline, A and I, helpless, as our little man goes out there on that field of dreams alone, armed with nothing but his talent, determination and ferocious will to make that tackle, pick out that pass, make that header, exhorts his team-mates, and try to set up a score, or put one away himself … and win, naturally.

It is so hard out there, our little guy, who is not particularly tall, or muscular, using every little bit of everything he has to hold out that stronger, bigger opponent, or get that last-ditch stretching toe to the ball to deprive the striker bearing down on goal.

Talent will only take you so far; at this level high-end ability is commonplace; you have to have that indefinable something that is also obvious when you have it in abundance.

How good is O? How good will he be? We don’t know yet. He has been able to meet the challenges, and even thrive, at every new level he has reached, but he might plateau, and slump at this one, or it could all end with a bad injury. Or a key coach might not rate him. Freeze him out.

It happens. Already at this age, we have encountered plenty of talented kids who already have a scary number of club moves made. Hasn’t worked out for them … yet!

O might have the luck he will also need, but he will also have to meet that good fortune half way and build on it.

This environment is harsh and unforgiving, but it is also filled with high drama and daring deeds of passionate intensity. It’s even fun at times!

O might soar or he might burn and plummet — nobody knows anything. We might get to hold his jacket as he runs on to glory or we might have to help him deal with shattered dreams at such a young age.

Or at least help him to recognise the noble satisfaction of having given it his best shot, and eventually accept his limitations. Knowing he has achieved much, if not all that he expected, or was maybe expected of him. And he can continue to play soccer for fun and exercise.

It’s exhilarating for us, the proud Mom and Dad, when O makes that fantastic tackle, and gut-wrenching when that sweeping pass across to the full back is intercepted and eventually leads to conceding a goal. Oh, calamity!

O has learned to lose, graciously for the most part, but dare the referee get a major decision wrong …

Even at the age our son is, 12, soccer at the elite level in the greater Dublin area, is tough. It’s physically demanding, and the smallest lapse in judgment or heavy touch can be punished severely, but the mental demands are quite frankly of another order altogether, for a young boy like our O.

He loves it, lives it, breathes it, and the lines between practice, learning and pleasure are utterly blurred for him; despite our admonishments his door is always opened before the car has fully stopped as he rushes to the dressing-room on training nights.

O is in his first year in secondary school and he is doing well there too. So it’s so far, so marvellous. But you never know what’s around the corner. Nobody knows …

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34 comments on “Will the son rise? Nobody knows!

  1. Great post – I enjoyed reading that. Having that desire to do something (whether it be football or other activity) and compete is so important. School and the pressure they put on children can be tough and to have something else to take away that pressure, something else to focus on can be so great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it is a joy and privilege to observe O’s passionate engagement up close. It is a wonderful outlet and despite what I might indicate, hugely positive. Thanks for your comment


  2. “Then there are the pieces I thought might not do well but which did much better than others I sniffily considered superior.”- couldn’t agree more.. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Balaka, or is it Trina? Just had a look at your website, looks fascinating. I will be back to explore. Thanks for your comment


  4. I don’t think it’s that mum’s don’t like sport, they just don’t like other kids sport stories. They have their own…if you were talking about professional soccer it might be different…but as you say, who knows? With a young girl, I’m just looking for activities that don’t seem to breed eating disorders…


  5. So true, the comments are like the fans on the sidelines! Writers may get a bad rap for seeking affirmation but then show me a job where it’s ok NOT to be told you are doing it well. I wonder how many people would keep plugging away on the playing field if nobody ever cheered for them?


    • Hi Liberty. How well you make the connection between the writer and the sportsperson and the universal need for affirmation! We all need it. Whatever our level

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can relate to this, having had two tennis playing daughters: one reached her level of playing for enjoyment, the other was picked up at national level until it all ended with an injury. They both still play occasionally though, and I hope O can reach his full potential whilst still enjoying it – that is the most important part of it!

    I agree on the blog posts too: I’ve long since given up working out why some do better than others! I blame the readers for their lack of discernment 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. We can only hope ut all works out well. And hecan find enjoyment and fulfillment whatever the actual playing level. Yep, a funny lot the reading public!😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure he’ll find his level, whatever that may be. As long as he’s happy, that’s the main thing. And yes they are: they follow us, after all 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations that your son has found an outlet for his energy and something he is passionate about and enjoys! There are so many kids that sit in front of TVs and tablets and struggle looking for passions to give them drive. Hope he continues to find enjoyment in soccer or whatever else gives him drive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Couldn’t agree more, both that he is active but that he is passionate. Thanks so much for reading and commenting


  8. mackenzieglanville

    There is almost nothing better than watching our children love what they do, finding a passion and blurring the lines between practice and just a love for what they are doing. My son is eight and plays basketball, he is not the best player by far, but I am super proud seeing him out there smiling and trying his best. My eldest daughter is in her element when she bakes and my middle daughter who is 10 has such a passion for her violin. Watching who they are and who they will become is the best! As for blogging I agree, some posts I feel so passionate about and ones I just write without much though seem to get barely a look, who knows!?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yeah pasion in our kids is so wonderful to see. My wish is always that both our kids would discover an area of interest in school and that this would shape the career path they choose. I so want our daughter to ignite her passion as this has not developed yet. I believe his capacity for and dedication to football will translate into his school work as he is very bright. Our daughter is too but works in a less pragmatic way. Thanks for commenting


  10. Passion and drive is so important. I’ve seen many parents and friends (who have parents) push their children towards activities which they like or value, but the child has no interest in. My husband was pushed towards playing the piano but he hated it and gave up. He wasn’t allowed guitar lessons so he pushed himself and taught himself from videos. He is an amazing and talented guitarist now. He has played in several successful bands and been invited to play at major sports events and private gigs. He loves it and our whole spare is taken over by guitars which he plays, loves, is building or renovating. He wouldn’t have developed that in anything else. Our son is two and finds some things quite difficult so we are introducing him to a range of environments and activities and allow him to find out what he enjoys – obviously he’s quite young right now, although he does go to a football class on Saturdays designed for toddlers. He’s very good at dribbling, but prefers throwing so we might have a GAA star in the future – now those guys are dedicated as they still have to work full time jobs! (husband is from Belfast) #ThursdayTeam

    (as an aside I’m off to read “Stop the world, I want to get on…” because I hope it’s a nod to Waylon Jennings)


  11. LP is a keen football player too – I’m not sure he takes it seriously enough for some other players but he’s having fun (he’s 8) and that’s all that matters to me. I’ve stood on the sidelines as he plays with his team and they cheer him on when he scores a goal. I was never interested in football, but that doesn’t mean I can’t support my boy in the things he enjoys. All we can do is hope for the best. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right because it should be about enjoyment after all. And exercise! My son happens to be good but even if he wasnt we would be shouting just as enthusiastically!


  12. RaisieBay

    I nearly clicked away when you said this post was going to be about sport 😉 I think it’s great that your son loves his soccer, I often wish my kids would be more sporty, although I’m not sure about waiting in the sidelines when it’s so cold. Playing a sport can teach a child so much, not just physical fitness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sport is about life too, I reckon! Even if some people take it a bit too seriously. But it can also bring out the best in peolpe and its been brilliant for our son. He has got so much out of it, and he is so fit and healthy. Thanks for overcoming your reluctance to read my piece


  13. It’s great your son has found something he enjoys very important for our children Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is very important. It has found a passion for something and it has brought direction and discipline without him even being conscious of it


  14. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    I’m not at all sporty but would support my children if they developed a talent for it. I think children should be encouraged to try new things as they might enjoy it! Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My nephew is the same age as O and really into his football too. Sports is great for life skills and social skills, lets just hope their dreams come true and they’re both up there doing amazingly!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next tomorrow!


  16. Rhyming with Wine

    It must be so incredibly exhilarating, being able to support O as he takes such huge steps towards his dreams. I have a friend who’s son has also been heavily involved with football and as you say it can be so tough for people so young, but ultimately teaches them so many valuable life lessons. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam :0)


    • You are so right it Is exhilarating. But we have to be very careful our non sporty daughter isnt jealous. And im dont know if we are succeeding.


    • Message was not complete when I sent it. Sorry. It hasnt been easy for our girl to see her brother getting all those kudos. Let’s say it’s a constant work in progress. Thanks for your comment


  17. You must be so proud and nervous with every play! Good for O and the support you give him, and may he ride the wave as long as he prefers to — his choice! Our girls are approaching levels in ballet that mirror your descriptions. This parenting thing is a wild ride, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything! xox #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It really is one helllll of a wiiilllddd ride Lisa! Parts of it I would gladly skip — like da attituuuddee, for one. But rough with the smooth, I guess!!


  19. It’s great that your son has found something he loves to do. My sister was a professional tennis player so I know the world you mean. It can be very harsh, very competitive, but there was so much passion from everyone (the parents as well). I have to be honest, I hated it, I hated being dragged up and down the country to tournaments but she loved it and was brilliant. Good luck to your son. Thanks for linking this to #thursdayteam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow that’s an interesting perspective. Our daughter has no interest in her brother’s sporting activities; I would even say she resents them! Thanks for commenting


  20. wendyr1505

    I am not a sport loving person but I would really love to one day watch my boys do something they really love and are passionate about – be that sport, music or something else. As for the blog post thing, don’t ket the worry of stats stop you writing about what you want to write about. For a while I got distracted by all the numbers and instead of writing what I really wanted to I started writing the sort of stuff I knew lots of people would read. This didn’t make me happy though and now I just write what I want and hope people read and like it! Thanks for joining #BlogCrush x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about writing what you want to write but I suppose there is a bit of compromise in that while I enjoy writing on a parenting/family theme these posts tend to get more of a response and so I do more of them than others!! Thanks for your comment


  21. Back from #triumphanttales sharing the blogger love, Enda!

    Liked by 1 person

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