Last Saturday morning our little family wandered across the road to the park and sports ground and watched our friends' son play rugby. He is 8 years old and rather impressively scored a try whilst managing to bowl a few others over in the committed yet gentlemanly fashion as befits the game. His team played well and beat their opponents convincingly. As the boys ambled off the field, cheeks flushed with victory they grouped together to have a post match debrief. I was so pleased for them and expected the coach (a father) to clap them all on the back and dish out an enthusiastic "Goodness me, aren't you a talented lot! Well done to one and all. Look at what you can achieve when you play so well as a team." Not so it would seem. This is what they got.
"Yeah not bad boys. There's a lot of work to do but luckily we've got all year to do it. See you on Wednesday at 4pm sharp for training."
According to the try scorer's mum this was quite encouraging compared to other weeks. The previous match they had lost and had been told that as they all played so badly there would be no man of the match awarded. In a year and a half the lad will be playing each Saturday. Judging by his current behaviour he will benefit enormously from the rough and tumble of a weekly ruck. During the match he ran off to play with some of his friends. He came back to the throng of parents and I watched him walk round and look up at each mum. When he had located his target he punched me heftily in the thigh as I assume some form of greeting or possibly a show of love and then ambled off.