We all remember our Inspirational Fathers of the Seventies, who stood legs straddled on the sideline, a pipe in one hand and a fist in the other. On the pitch, their offspring shivered in the drizzle, their miserable faces specked with dirt, their knees bloody from the winter pitch. Leave me alone, the kids thought. I'd rather be at home watching Fingerbobs, even if the mouse is a grey paper cone and the seagull a white ping-pong ball. "Come on you stupid tossers!" the fathers shouted. "Pass the frigging ball, you morons! What are you - a bunch of frigging girls?" Girls? No. Absolutely not. Although my sister is back home at the moment in the warm watching Fingerbobs...
|In the old days Dads wore tight shorts pulled up rather high|
Back in the glory days of swearing and sexism, the Pushy Parent ruled the sporting world. It's no surprise that they still rule, but it's all much cleaner these days. Today's Pushy Parent speaks a foreign dialogue. I have had to go home and look up some of this stuff, you know.
To help other cushy parents, I have put together a little glossary that might be of use:
Get pumped. Take your brother's bicycle pump, put it in your mouth - ensuring that there is a tight seal - and inflate your body until you are buoyant enough to bounce through the opposition.
Get psyched. Consult your horoscope. If it says Mars is going to clash with Uranus, it might be best to not stand near the chocolate machine in the sports hall lobby.
Front seat. I really don't know what this means. But the father at our local club shouts it a lot to his little boy. Poor Archie isn't the nitty gritty tenacious sort. He is a bit of an aimless child - happy playing his own imaginary game. Whilst his father shouts "front seat Archie" he also does a funny signal to Archie with his hands. I've yet to be able to interpret the symbolism, but I think it might be something do with aircraft marshalling. Because as the dad shouts "front seat" with increasing exacerbation, so Archie whizzes around the pitch with his arms outstretched, his mouth simulating the rumble of an aeroplane, his face full of daydream bliss.
Archie isn't going to play for England. He probably isn't even going to take a front seat.
Whatever that means.
Next time: how to make sure that your child's school wear is properly labelled, so that you never have to endure the smelly lost property box again.
Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.