My Boy has always been a sports lover. Like father, like son. Or, in other words, blame Mr B.
When our son was but four and
a half years old, Mr B paid out full-price for a season ticket for the two of them at Gillingham Football Club – great seats in the Main Stand, right next to the press box and at the back so that he could stand on his tiny legs and see over everybody’s
heads. In clarification, it was My Boy who had the tiny legs, not Mr B.
The very first match they went to see together, Gillingham won 5-0. Mr B only
saw one of the goals as every time the other four made it into the back of the net, he was dealing with one of the usual four year old’s requirements. Indeed, for the first half dozen matches, it was fairly obvious that The Small One was mainly
going for the crisps and coke at half time. Then, a transformation. There was Our Boy poring over the programme and trying to match up the numbers on the back of the players’ shirts with their photos and names. After that, there was no stopping
him. He was up on his feet,waving his blue and white stripey scarf and cheering on The Gills for all he was worth.
Occasionally, very occasionally, I went
with them. This was when “Ginge” didn’t need his ticket and passed it on to us. Mr B doesn’t remember what Ginge’s real name was, possibly he never knew, but he had a shock of ginger hair. Ginge, that is, not Mr B. On
these occasions, My Boy took enormous pleasure in ensuring that I knew who was who. In his privileged position, he was not only next to the press box, but very near the seats where non-playing players watched the match.
“That’s Damien!” he would inform me in the loudest of stage whispers, “Mummy, mummy, that’s Damien! It’s Damien!” At which his hero, the great Damien Richardson,
would invariably turn round in his seat and smile at us, so making one small boy’s day and causing me to smirk foolishly as if I’d been caught out spying on him.
So there, in the stands at Gillingham Football Club, was born a life-long love of sport. Like his father, there are few sports My Boy won’t watch with pleasure. However, since marrying and making his home in Wales, Home of Rugby, Max Boyce
and Male Voice Choirs singing Land of My Fathers, he has embraced with enthusiasm the national sport. If England isn’t playing, then he will support his adopted country with all his sporting heart. If England is playing Wales, well, blood will
out and he will stand among all the Welsh supporters with their leeks and daffodils, in his white England rugby shirt, singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Albeit under his breath.
However on Friday this week it’s Wales versus France, so there is absolutely no doubting where his allegiance will lie. Moreover, so he tells me, if enough people “like” his inspired caption in a photo caption
competition, he could win tickets for himself and the Darling Daughter in Law. They even - no mean feat - have a baby-sitter lined up for the three Little Welsh Boys. (No, not me, though it will be my turn next week and I’m very excited about it.) Here’s
Incidentally for the English among you, a little translation may help. A “cwtch” is Welsh for a cuddle. I know this because I receive lots of cwtches from my
Little Welsh Boys. I am sure you are now sufficiently intrigued to click on the link, if you haven’t done so already, just to find out what on earth cwtches and cuddles have to do with rugby. And while you are there, please, please, please “like”
My Boy’s caption, if only for the sake of that little boy who learnt to love sport at his father’s knee. And because he will be so pleased with me.
will, of course, let you know if our concerted efforts succeed in sending My Boy and His Girl to the Ball (game.)
There’ll be plenty of cwtches coming my
way if we do...