For most boys, football is the first sport they experience. Whether it’s with parents playing in the garden, older siblings, or once they start school playing in PE. But N has never been a fan. He’s even gone so far as to say he hated it. But it seems he’s got a (kind of) new love for football. And is finding football fun.
As long as it’s on his terms.
When he was a baby, we’d roll a ball and he loved that. As a toddler he’d happily push a ball around and by 2 ½ years could vaguely kick a ball around the garden. But we aren’t a huge football family. The OH will watch matches when they’re on, and he’ll follow his team. But he never really played it other than in school.
I’ll watch the big tournaments. My days of following a team properly were left behind after leaving home, and not having to compete with my brother’s love of
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N’s happy enough playing football in PE. He has no choice obviously, but he’s keen on lots of kids sports, a go. But he’s never really been keen to play at home. It’s always made it hard when he’s been with his cousin who is obsessed with football. They do come to a compromise and will play a bit of tennis and then some football.
But he’d never go to football club, and has never been interested in playing anything organised.
I was surprised during the 2018 World Cup at how much he knows about football and the players. Obviously he’s absorbed a lot from friends and he definitely has opinions on football.
Give him the chance to play out in the garden and football would never have been a game he’d have opted for. It would have been tennis, golf or badminton. Frisbee, or just playing on the swing. Anything other than kicking a ball around. However, the last couple of months there’s been a shift and suddenly N is keen to play.
It started when I said he could have the football I’d bought for his cousin as a birthday gift, but we ended up giving him something else. So now he has a decent football to play with. Topping that interest off is him watching the tv show Jamie Johnson. I’ll sit and watch it with him, even though there’s a lot of irritating children in it. But it’s obviously sparked some kind of interest.
He can also sometimes persuade his dad to have a quick run around game. And if my brother’s over, he’ll have a kick around too. Given N’s not played more than a couple of months of football in 8 years, he does ok. For playing in the garden anyway.
N likes to play in goal (not sure why, who wants to have a football blasted at them?!), so when we were in town we got him some cheap goalie gloves*. Hopefully his hands will hurt a bit less after playing. Thankfully he still only sees football as a game to play in the garden. I much prefer him liking tennis to me having to stand in the cold and wet of winter watching football matches each week.
There are some of his school friends who love football a lot, and play for a team. But for N it’s a bit of fun for a kick around, a bit of extra exercise in the garden. Or for playing en masse, kids vs adults when we’re camping. The latter is definitely a lot of football fun for all of us.
He’s not so much of a fan that he has to watch matches on tv, although he’s been happy to watch a few highlights of the England lionesses playing in the women’s world cup.
I’m pleased he’s taking a bit of an interest. With boys, there’s a feeling that if they’re not interested in football, it might mean they miss out with friendships or at playtimes if everyone else likes football. A slight interest means he’ll always have something football based to talk about if needed.
Are your children football fans? How do they get involved?