Sporty Not Naughty

With one kid gonski and the other vehicularly mobile, my Saturday mornings no longer resemble a scene from the Amazing race. As I sip on my latte and read the paper, I offer that ‘old persons’ empathetic smile to the procession of parents trying to grab a quick takeaway coffee prior to the ‘divide and conquer’ mission that involves wrangling kids into cars and ferrying them off to multiple sporting fields in far flung and (not so) exotic destinations. Kids sport should totally become an event at the parenting Olympics and if it did, I would absolutely have made the B final (#aimhigh). I learnt many valuable life lessons from the myriad of sports that my kids have tried over the years.

From Rep netball I learnt that

  1. There are 2 speed cameras in the Lane Cove tunnel and it is possible to be booked by both … in both directions
  2. Whistles and hangovers are not a match made in heaven
  3. Acrylic netball dresses do not flatter every body type
  4. Hardcore netball mums are batshit bonkers

From cricket I learnt that

  1. My son inherited his hand eye co-ordination (or lack thereof) from me
  2. It is possible to make it through an entire season of cricket without touching the ball
  3. It is also possible to be more interested in watching grass grow than watching your kid field from that little known position of left-right-out
  4. The 13th man rarely gets to bat

From rugby I learnt that;

  1. It’s way quicker and more social than netball or cricket
  2. Never leave home without a towel or a large tarp to cover the backseat of the car
  3. Jaws and knees are not a great combo
  4. It’s virtually impossible to feed a giant (with a shattered jaw) through a straw (refer point 3)

Parents of artsy kids also bemoan their lot in life. Fortunately both my children quickly learnt that their talents lay in the sporting arena and not on the stage. At my son’s first prep proms concert the entire year were dressed as cats. Think head to toe lycra (like Cathy Freeman’s bodysuit from the Sydney Olympics) in a choice of white brown or black. My son, who stood about a foot taller than most other kids scored white. He looked like a giant human condom lost in a sea of tiny cats. Without doubt …the most entertaining kids concert… ever! He then took it up a notch at his school in Singapore where he was quite literally cast as the horse’s ass (his bestie was under the same sheet as the horse’s head) … And what a damn fine horse’s ass he made. I’m surprised he wasn’t discovered and signed on the back of that performance. Similarly gifted, my daughter, in her first and last ballet recital was cast as ‘The Fairytale Fence.’ No tutus or tulle in sight … just brown leggings and t-shirt, completely stationary other than a few token pliés thrown in to justify the cost of the ticket.

After kicking the arts into touch and experimenting with every sport known to man, both my kids settled on rowing … which seems to be the sporting equivalent of crack cocaine. Once you’re hooked it becomes an obsession. For normal people looking in, the 4am starts, physical exhaustion and extreme training regime defy logic, but for those on the inside it becomes like a cult. My sons rowing cult is run out of headquarters known as Shedtown and I admit that I’m slightly anxious that I’m going to be chased down the street in years to come by A Current Affair, being interrogated on how I could knowingly have allowed my son to join. The similarities between Shedtown and other infamous cults are disturbing :

  1. One supreme leader (aka “Sir”) who is revered and feared in equal measure and who’s word is final … TICK
  2. Followers shun own family in favour of the cult family … TICK
  3. Followers sacrifice everything for the greater good of the cult … TICK (including but not limited to schoolwork, social life, jobs, household duties and sleep)
  4. Cult promotes both exclusivism and isolationism … TICK
  5. Followers are encouraged to dress the same and behave the same. Individualism and independent thinking is not encouraged … TICK
  6. Cult engenders a fear of being disbarred or evicted from the group … TICK
  7. Followers willingly agree to engage in activities that are extreme … TICK, TICK, TICK

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck … then you be the judge. In the meantime I’m holding tight to my mothering mantra of ‘sporty not naughty’ and continuing to bury my head in the proverbial sand.

  • Ralph van Dijk
    Posted at 11:12h, 27 October Reply

    Love it Ang U R!

  • Stephen Collins
    Posted at 22:27h, 28 October Reply

    Hysterical piece Angela! Loved it! XX

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