Yesterday it was my eight year olds last Home and Away game for this, his first season of Under 9 junior footy.
Whilst it was his first season playing, it was in fact, not my first season as a footy mum. My first foray into junior football began in 2002 with my older boys. I have just calculated thirteen consecutive seasons and I can see no reprieve in the near future. Surely it’s time for my graduation?
One of the striking things about junior footy is the level of involvement that is required by the parents. Unlike other junior sporting activities where, yes, you need a coach and a manager and maybe someone to score, football requires a much larger cast to keep each game in production every weekend.
For those not familiar with the routine of Sunday Morning Junior Footy….the parents are as much part of the game as the kids are. This is a game that operates in much the same way as a theatrical work in that it has many roles to be filled. From the coach or the director, supporting roles, right through to the persons backstage in the canteen.
It goes without saying, there is an audience and there are characters.
Back in 2002, thirteen seasons ago, I was in all honesty confounded by the level of commitment required. I was challenged too by the 8am starts on cold and wet Sunday mornings with sleepy eight year olds who just looked too small to be playing. I was challenged by the fact that I had to participate and wear a bib with my job description written on it in capital letters.
The bibs I refer to pull on over ones clothes. They tie up with elastic just above ones hips, they are not becoming to ones appearance, nor are they comfortable. They are reminiscent of school sports days in the 70’s.
With the ebbs and flows of many seasons past, I have navigated my way through these demands, juggling more than one game at a time, a coaching husband, smaller children and a burning wish to have nothing on on a Sunday. However, I have seen the local kids grow and develop into adulthood. I have seen fathers and their sons (mainly), mothers and their sons and families playing and working together as a community.
As this season comes to an end I look forward to watching next weeks under 9 grande finale, the Lightening Premiership, even if it’s cold and wet and even if I have to wear one of those bibs.
All is good.
Here is the list of job descriptions on the current batch of bibs-
- ASSISTANT CAOACH
- TEAM MANAGER
- BOUNDARY UMPIRE
- UMPIRE ESCORT
- the white lab coat for the goal umpire
and ones that could yet be allocated-
- Canteen first half
- Canteen second half