I almost went to 2 football games last weekend!
Because of the excitement and anticipation of a friend’s final game (e-ver, if you’re reading this!), another looming situation had slipped my mind. As a teacher, I have a Grand Final Policy for my students; ‘If you’re in it, I’m there.’ This tried and tested habit of supporting and encouraging my students on their big day never entered my mind when making the decision to step away from watching sport for a year.
Before I go on, I get a lot of positive feedback from my friends over doing this, but really, it’s not that big a deal. Most sporting events I get to see are pretty entertaining, and even if the game is not that interesting, the event itself, with cheering parents and friends makes for a good enough spectacle.
Allow me to take this red herring further and rank some of the different sports I have watched in my 10 years of teaching. Keep in mind I’m a primary teacher, so the skill levels can vary greatly!
1. Indoor soccer. An easy choice – it’s not even close. There’s always something happening, you’re never far away from a goal scoring attempt, and the kids’ limited abilities are protected by the netting. You’re indoors, on top of the game, it doesn’t take 3 hours; I could go on…
2. Basketball. This can go both ways – try attending a girls’ under 9 final where an 8-6 scoreline means that getting to your attacking end is a feat in myself. Multiply that by a hot day, multiple courts and sweaty players and it doesn’t really push no. 1 for the title. On the other hand, it’s a phenomenal sport, you are indoors and feet stamping by overbearing mothers can only be appreciated.
3. Football. One of the better sports to watch, but it’s early and you’re vulnerable to elements like the cold and rain. Plus, if you’re only there to get behind one player and he is not a star, you are in for a long day. On the upside, there’s pies, chips and soft drinks to claim as a tax deduction.
9. Netball. A game controlled by referees for whom stopping the run of play + anyone having any genuine fun seems to be a gift. This is one area where a strong temptation to think to yourself, ‘I am at a netball game for 11 year olds. I must be a good teacher.’
127. Dancing performances. This should not even be considered a sport, but I have learnt painful lessons from my early days of attending these ‘events’. They are excruciatingly drawn out; when the kid you are there to see does come on, you take an eternity to find them from within the group of 60 others who are taking up the stage. Then, as it’s not in your area of expertise, you have no genuine feedback to give afterwards (which I hate) besides, ‘You did/look really great!’
Thanks for allowing me to digress. I feel a lot better.
A bad throat
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way your bread is buttered, poor health saw me unable to attend this kid’s football grand final last Sunday morning. Upon ringing the family later in the day to apologise and to see how everything went, I couldn’t help but feel slightly vindicated when I found out I had missed a 70-7 flogging. My year without sport had retained some credibility and I had not wasted an entire Sunday morning.
Making an actual difference
Problem was, I didn’t believe the second part of that last sentence at all. Win or lose, it’s never a waste to build into these kids and show that there is someone who genuinely cares about them; that an event important to them is therefore important to me. Forget for a second that my actual job is easier the better the relationship I have with each student; hopefully their self-esteem receives a bump as well.
Can I still be a good teacher and not attend these types of events? Of course. Most of us have done fine throughout school without having many teachers show much care at all. But if I decide to no longer be a part of these types of games, it’ll be for reasons related to my own work-life balance and not about stringent rule-keeping to this journey without sport watching.
Now, if I can just get some kids to take up American football, well, number 1 could be in trouble!