My Future Wallaby

It’s nearly the end of the rugby season and I’m counting the days.

By far, and without doubt, Alfie is the worst player on the team.  He just doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t know where he’s meant to be, doesn’t understand what he’s meant to be doing and much to the annoyance of the coach, will just stand and watch a player from the opposing team rush by him with the ball and score a try.  It’s like an open invitation to the opposing side to have Alfie metaphorically open a gate for them and let them through.

But Alfie is blissfully unaware of his shortcomings and comes off the field not even knowing whether his team won or lost and really, not even caring.  All that matters to him is that he’s enjoyed himself.

Who wouldn’t want this boy on their team?

I stand on the sidelines with my dogs beside me, cringing as Alfie keeps opening the gate or worse, stares at the planes flying overhead, fiddles with his mouth guard, wanders around with his hands in his pockets or daydreams about what next to download on his i-pod Touch while his team gets a whipping from the opposing side and suffers another defeat.

The only mercy in this torrid Saturday morning experience is that it is the Under 8’s and not the World Cup.  That is how I make myself feel better while also thinking consoling thoughts like, ‘All children should play a team sport’, and ‘It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game’,  and ‘Playing sport is good exercise’ and ‘This has been a great way to exercise the dogs’.

My future Wallaby

As humiliating as it is to have a son who is struggling the other parents have been marvelously supportive and say, ‘Oh don’t worry about it, he’ll get there’, and ‘It’s only the Under 8’s’ and ‘It’s all about fun at this stage’ and ‘They’re all playing badly today’ etc.  And the coach has even awarded him ‘Man of the Match’ and he was given a certificate and a block of chocolate.  And Alfie was so proud!


He loves his big sister

I’m also comforted by the fact his big brother was as bad, if not worse.  During Archie’s matches he would pick up sticks and dig holes to find worms, stand still and wriggle his wobbly teeth, score trys at the wrong try-line and yell out to me mid-game.

But Archie improved.  Sport was compulsory at his high school and as he didn’t want to play soccer or do athletics, he had to play rugby.  And one day it all clicked in.  He suddenly understood the game and worked his way up from the U13H team to the U16B team.

He can concentrate when he wants to

And this could happen for my future Wallaby too.

Buffet breakfast at a hotel – that’s not what we serve at home!

On the upside, my little Wallaby attends after-school drama classes.  His teacher pulled me aside the other day and told me he’s the most promising in the class.  Drama he gets!

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  1. For heavens sake, they are EIGHT YEARS OLD and have plenty of time to improve
    You have one adorable little kid! At least he’ll be the heart throb at whatever he ends up doing!


  2. How disheartening for the boys.

  3. The Squishy Monster says:

    oh my goodness, both your children are SO BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Charlieeee!!!! I’m back! Seriously I’ve missed your posts more than anything, I was hoping that your posts will be my summer read but I had no luck.
    I will read all the posts I’ve lost one by one, now that I’m back on track.
    Seriously my friend I just cant undarstand all this pressure that we put on our childrens back pretty often. They’re just kids they must have fun on top of everything else.
    Hugs my friend, I’ll be back soon :*

  5. What an adorable child Alfie is…all your children are so handsome, Charlie!

  6. yummychunklet says:

    Ah, kids and their sweets!

  7. gardencorrespondent says:

    I am so glad that Alfie is not disheartened or discouraged. And you know what? I think it’s because he’s got his family rooting for him.

  8. I remember all too well certain sports that we made our son play for all the same reasons you posted. During baseball (grade school) he would stand on his head in the outfield or shout at me, “Is it time to be done yet, mom?” It was somewhat embarrassing, I’ll admit, because of course all of my friend’s children were star athletes even in grade school and even if they weren’t their parents acted as if they were training for the Olympics.

    But with that said, I’m sure Alfie has many, many, more talents that he will be able to and does display on a regular basis. My child wasn’t super athletic other than ski racing and downhill skiing, but who cares! He excelled in many other areas. And those kids whose parents thought they were training for the Olympics? None of them graduated with sports scholarships, or a fancy invite to represent their country in England this year. 😉

  9. Choc Chip Uru says:

    Little Alfie nor his friends deserve such horrid treatment – it seems more like a puffed up pompous man bullying younger children 🙁
    I’m so glad it is almost over! How can he possibly expect young kids to go out there at such a competitive level!
    When Alfie becomes the wallaby that he will one day, I hope he takes away the snack food that ‘coach’ is eating during watching his match!!!

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. I agree – praise and encouragement are key no matter what age, but especially for ones so young!

  11. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Children are so precious and so sensitive–they should be given positive reinforcement always. There are enough blows in everyone’s life later on without having the adults of your youth pile it on. Thank goodness Alfie has his family! He sounds like such a wonderful child.

  12. That’s why so many kids stop playing sports as soon as they can. Most kids really do enjoy it for the social skills and getting outside, but get completely put off by over-competitive coaches or parents, never to pick up sports again til later in life (or not at all). Let them just enjoy it, I say!

  13. You are to be commended for holding back. I would have just passed out the goodies and told the boys they were wonderful and I felt sorry for them that they had a shit for a coach. I know.. I would have been reprimanded but I’d have done it anyway. Kids don’t need to always win.. they learn more from losing but constantly being berated means they won’t want to compete because it doesn’t feel good. My .02 anyway 🙂

  14. That coach makes me LIVID. I can’t understand this current trend towards taking sport from something enjoyable for kids to muck around with to something adults put their own crushing self-esteem issues and awful competitiveness into. This story is exactly why I’m so glad I never did team sports! I was hard enough on myself, I didn’t need a coach there to add to it.

  15. so sorry say something I know you can “-)

  16. The kids are under 8 years old! This is the time for praising their efforts not berating them. Just like with doctors, a coach’s first rule should be “First do no harm.”

  17. J Cosmo Newbery says:

    Go Alfie! I hatred sport as a kid and always managed to be diagonally across the field from the ball, wherever it was.

  18. helliotrop says:

    Great post! That under 8 team rocks!!!

  19. As a child who was pretty terrible at sport, I relate to Alfie! I love that his coach seems to get it too – chocolate for participating is a great approach in my view 🙂

  20. says:

    You should know that this is so not important Charlie. It makes for a good story but I would prefer a boy that did drama to one that does sport. He will be sooo much more expressive as a person with a bit of drama under his belt

  21. Your Alfie is a very handsome young man 🙂
    I really think kids this young should see sports as a fun excersice, a way to spend time with friends not a cruel competition and a way to crush self esteem 🙁

  22. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Aww poor Alfie! Although I shouldn’t say poor Alfie as he seems quite happy and quite frankly there is more to life than sports! Actually he sounds as bad as I was when I played sport 😛

  23. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Oh I’ve heard lots of stories about friend’s kids who do the same. One friend’s son touched the ball in a game and he ran around waving his arms in the air screaming ‘mum!!! I touched the ball!!!!’
    It’s all about them having fun!

  24. Suzanne Perazzini says:

    This is such a delightful story. I love the fact that Alfie seems so unaffected by it all. My son would never deign to be a part of a team sport – tennis, roller blading, judo, yes but no running around with a heap of other boys chasing a ball. Not his thing at all. Fortunately no one ever forced him to participate. Some kids are not made for team sports but can excel at an individual one.

  25. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Beautiful shots of Alfie! If all else fails, maybe he could try his hand at modelling in a few years time.
    🙂 Mandy

  26. Being oblivious is probably a blessing at this age -after all he was having fun!

  27. InTolerantChef says:

    What a sweetie indeed! Drama is certainly safer than rugby 🙂
    My littlej was the only girl on the year 5 school rugby team and I was terrified. When it came to inter-school competition she ran around gamely and actually managed to (try to) tackle a huge big Tongan kid and she looked so proud- despite her bruises and split lip 🙂 She now competes in karate instea and I’m much happier indeed!

  28. Sophies foodie files says:

    He is a sweetie, isn’t he? I played also drama in high scool & loved it! He will love it too, I am sure! Great pics too! Good luck for him!

  29. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    He’s such a doll! His rugby playing reminds me of when my daughter was on swim team. One race, she placed a very close second (maybe just in her heat, who know?) and that was really good for her. After the race, I told her how well she did. Her reply? “Yeah, I was thinking I probably could out touch her [the other swimmer], but then I thought, why bother?” That pretty well sums up her competitive spirit.

  30. Judy Purcell says:

    Love, love, love the photo with the chocolate on his nose! Looks like someone helped him get too close to his ice cream cone–so cute and candid. 🙂

  31. I think Alfie and Mr. N would be fast friends. Mr. N doesn’t get sports either. We’ve tried nearly every team sport we could find and all with similar results…Drama on the other hand – is where he thrives. We keep him in swimming (the only sport he does not complain about) to keep him physical, but I’m guessing sports are not in his future. I love the shot of Alfie with the chocolate on his face. That is just so precious!

  32. Amy @ Elephant Eats says:

    Aw, Aflie is so adorable!! How awesome that he has so much fun! Who cares how good he is at sports…ultimately that’s probably the least important skill to have when you’re an adult 😉

  33. Aw, Alfie is so cute Charlie 🙂 I have to admit, I was the same… never understood football at school. The whistle would randomly blow, someone would yell I was “offside”… what does that even mean? It happened all the time too! :/

  34. Glamorous Glutton says:

    The Youngest Glam Teen didn’t really get rugby either, He wanted to – really wanted to. They all have their ‘thing’. And Alfie looks like he has fun, as did the glam teen and that’s what it’s all about. GG

  35. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Though rugby isn’t that big here in the states, since I’m married to a former rugby player I’m pretty sure that are future kids will be playing the game and I’ll be the one trying to figure things out. 😉

  36. He’s simply just too cute – who cares if he can play!! Looks like he found his niche though in drama. Love your pics of the kids, brings back memories raising mine. They just grow up tooo darn fast!

  37. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    Alfie has the absolute right attitude toward sports. If only all kids and parents played with the attitude that they need only enjoy themselves. That’s exactly as it should be.

  38. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    Alfie is so cute. I love his attitude and I think he’s right – it’s not all about the winning, it’s about the fun that they have on the field.

  39. kitchenriffs says:

    That top picture is wonderful. Really nice post – I was an Alfie when I was his age. Heck, still am! Team sports and me? Not a good thing. I’m much better at those solo endurance things, like cross country running or biking. Although I love watching team sports – go figure.

  40. Oh that’s so sweet 🙂 I love this post and all the pictures of Alfie he’s such a cute and adorable little boy! I really hope my nephew stays this cute hahaha

    And i love the picture of Arabella and Alfie together! Sibling love! xoxo

  41. You just gave me a great giggle with your comment about the cereal being NOT what’s served at home! So funny! And your little Wallaby is so cute and it’s a wonderful thing, in my humble opinion, that he hasn’t quite caught on to the idea of competition as blood sport quite yet! If he’s having fun…but I know it can be rough with other parents looking on. I think you don’t need to worry…he’s so adorable how can anyone push him! 🙂

  42. Isn’t ‘having fun’ the most important part of doing sport?! LOL at his talent in drama ;-)))

  43. bestfoodies says:

    Aww…he is just adorable and what a beautiful sister! Your post took me back to when my son started playing little league. His first turn out in field he just sat down and started playing with the grass even though we were calling out to him to watch for the ball he disregarded us until he got thirsty then just got up and headed to me for a drink totally unconcerned about the game lol. Of course he was only 5 but it was just too cute. He never really did become much of a baseball player, went on to basketball and had tons of fun. Hope your future wallaby has fun too….if not drama sounds just awesome!

  44. I consider that some of Alfie’s traits are actually gifts, Charlie. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and he just enjoys games for the fun of them. I must admit, it can be quite hilarious to watch him zone out of one activity as he zones in on another (completely unrelated) one…That ability to focus with tunnel vision on something (no matter how obscure) might make him rich and famous one day!

  45. Wonderful photographs… made me smile too. Blessing and Happiness to you all. Thank you, love, nia

  46. I was awful at sport as a child but I wish my parents had made me play in a team, it teaches you so many good habits (like exercising regularly!) beautiful photos as always!

  47. Bless – but planes and iPods can be so much more entertaining at times 😉 Now why doesnt it surprise me that you have another aspiring actor in your family, You are one artistic bunch xx

  48. Barb Bamber says:

    Our kids all seem to find their way to what they love… and thank goodness for that! My daughter was the worse soccer player ever.. she had to power-walk around the field because running was just too much work, lol!

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