I’ve looked after Yatton RFCs website for several years, and whilst still coaching was also junior chairman 2014 – 2016. Four seasons ago, I received an email addressed to me in both of those capacities from a very earnest sounding young man named George Haynes. He wanted to know if we had a colts team, as although he didn’t live in the area he visited it often, and he wanted to get back into playing rugby following some time out through injury. I put George in touch with then colts coach Mike Patch, and after playing with the colts George soon integrated into the 2nd / 3rd XVs as a senior player in the following seasons, during which we became good friends. A mutual friend and teammate once warned me not to stand by George at a bar, as he’d “…bankrupt himself buying you drinks because he’s such a nice bloke.”
(a.k.a An ode to my rugby playing career…)
Late 1970’s South Africa – a beautiful country, but with questionable politics. We’d moved there when I was only five years old due to my dad’s job. A country where Rugby Union was almost a religion, and young (white) boys indoctrinated very early on. With a dad keen on rugby too, it was no wonder that I soon found myself with a rugby ball in my hands.
Grown men playing with toy soldiers? Oh for shame…
Being embarrassed by something we do, say or take an interest in is an experience we could all have at some stage in our lives, unless we have particularly thick skin. The degree of embarrassment and / or shame would vary too, depending on person and subject. How then, would you deal with derision from others for a pastime from which you take pleasure? An interest less “mainstream” than others, or that’s perceived by some as being ‘odd’? Ladies and gentlemen…I give you the adult wargamer!
It’s lovely seeing kids enjoy something. Laughing and playing, with all of the innocence of youth etc. That joy ratchets up a notch or three when it’s your own kids, and you witness first hand their enjoyment of an activity or whatever it may be. So, imagine then the dismay, when something that has brought an immense amount of pleasure for a number of reasons over a number of years starts having the opposite effect. Very simply…I see my lad doing something reluctantly that he used to do without question and full of joy, and that makes me sad and want to know why.
One of the beauties of having several children, is that they are all so different from each other. Watching each of them grow up and interact with the world around them is fascinating in each case. As a parent, one’s relationship with each of them is rewarding for both the same and different reasons as a result of that individuality. Whilst they are all different however, they are after all the components of a whole. The dynamic is very noticeably different when one is not there, as has been seen of late with our eldest moving away to university. I’ve written a few things on this blog about my pride in my kids…three out of four of them so far. So, it’s more than high time I finished this off and spoke about the youngest of the brood, Imogen Frances Foley.
So today (17th August 2017) is A-Level results day in the UK. Thousands of 17 / 18 year olds up and down the country are getting their A-Level results and for some of them, their futures depend on them for University places. I’m just concerned with one of those kids however, and that’s my eldest, Charlotte.
A bit of a vent…
If judging oneself or anyone else to have “gone wrong”, what is the yardstick being used and who set the standards being measured against? After all, one person’s “wrong” is another’s “not bad”, much like political opinion. Some would have us do something in a particular way that others regard (either in method or outcome) as anathema to them. A quote from the film “Twelve Monkeys”, often used, adjusted and (incorrectly) attributed to a variety of people is “There is no right or wrong, there is only popular opinion”. Contentious maybe, but I think there is something to it. This is not about judgement of others however, but more about judgement of oneself. Therefore some discussion of the standards being measured against and how they were acquired, when coming to the conclusion of having “gone wrong”, is merited.