When our third child was quite young he went along to Saturday morning football at Mulsanne Park. We were never sure whether Mulsanne rhymed with frying pan or window pane. I was of the former camp but others in the family claimed the latter. Being of all seeing all knowing disposition I am of course right though the argument was never truly settled and I doubt that anyone cares or even realises it was an issue.
The boy was never going to make it as a footballer. I recall a beautiful spring day when the sun was shining and for once it was a pleasure to have to perform parental duties and take him and his pals out to Nettleham. There have been other times when the icy blast of a gale blowing across from the Urals made me wonder why he wasn’t more interested in jigsaws as a hobby but this was not one of them. It was a perfect day for football.
Conditions that are right footballing are also ideal for other activities. At Mulsanne Park these conditions are, where the parents are concerned, good for sipping a cup of tea purchased from the pavilion and chatting with other parents. Some people are more interested in following the on field activity and I must say that to some extent I fall into this camp. However I do feel that I can with a degree of concentration adequately multitask and also drink tea and chat. I know not what the chat is about – as far as multitasking is concerned “remembering” is one task to far.
You should know I am not one of those competitive parents who shout instructions from the sideline and remonstrate with the ref when he thinks that a decision has not gone the right way. Still I do like to celebrate the on-pitch success of the boy. I can be very loud in my appreciation. No wilting lilly I.
This brings me to the other point about ideal footballing conditions and that is what is good for football is also good for spring growth. In the case of Mulsanne Park this might be a renewal of activity in the hedgerows and also on the playing surface itself. We like the new growth in the grass even though it means work for the lawnmower. Unfortunately grass isn’t all that grows on a football pitch. Daisies also flourish.
On the beautiful day in question the lad was dawdling in the outfield and his attention was caught by a certain daisy. This daisy must have been a fast grower because the pitch had not long been mowed. The daisy clearly merited closer inspection.
Now one of the aspects of the game of football is that people run around the field kicking the ball this way and that and there is a good change if you stand in one spot that the play will eventually come your way. On this occasion with daisy inspection in full flow the opposition winger came thundering towards my lad who was totally oblivious to anything other than the daisy. The winger shot past and with only the keeper between him and stardom made certain of his place on the scoresheet and no doubt of lasting fame in the history of Nettleham Under 6’s football.
The boy looked up and trotted over to some other part of the pitch, neither jubilant nor utterly dejected.