I attended a function at the men-children’s school recently (yes, we had three events in seven days) and it gave me reason to reflect as the Mother-of-a-Man Child on the journey of my sons from boys to adolescents to adults.
The event I attended was the Rugby Presentation night. As the team manager for one of the men-children’s teams (ironic since I know virtually nothing about rugby no matter how hard I try to learn the rules – apparently the prerequisite was being good at email communication), I decided that this year I would like to attend the evening.
Father-of-a-Man-child and I tend to play tag team at these events anyway, mainly because we have the much younger Sister-of-a-Man-Child at home, and it’s just too big an impost to all go to everything, especially on a school night. Hubby had been to the AFL presentation night just a few nights earlier, so it seemed fair to share the load.
The night was really like any sporting presentation night. A great compilation video to open the night, followed by Coaches awards for each year level (best player, most improved, etc), gifts presented to coaches, recognition for the all important 1st team (this is predominantly made up of year 12’s and other boys who excel in the sport), and special awards.
No doubt since I hadn’t attended one before I probably enjoyed it more than many. I doubt the format changes year in, year out. As some of you would know, the end of year primary school concert, as gorgeous as it is, loses some of it’s joy by the time you’ve attended four or five of them, and you know you’ve got another 10 to go with your daughter following your sons through the school!!!
But we digress – back to the rugby evening. My overwhelming sense of the night was that it really was a true celebration of boys. Collectively they represented a wonderful display of teamwork, mateship, determination, and dedication by both coaches and students alike. Many of the coaches referred to watching the boys progress over the year as they grew into young men, witness to the ever-changing physical and emotional rollercoaster that is adolescence. Some were very frank about the challenges of coaching the boys, particularly at certain ages when they are more anti-authoritarian, but even then, you could tell they enjoyed the challenge and delighted in the development of the boys and what they had achieved throughout the season.
Above all, I also got an amazing sense of the bond they all shared through their love of the game of rugby. It was quite a contagious feeling, and made me pleased to be playing even a very minor part in the sport. It also gave me an insight into Father-of-a-man-child’s passion for the local AFL footy club of which he is President. It takes up way too much of his time, but now I think I can understand why he just can’t get enough of the club.
For us, we love that both of our men-children are active in sport. Be it AFL, Rugby or Rowing, what became clear for me is the importance for them to be part of a team, to do their best, to enjoy the pursuit of sporting excellence, to put in the effort to get the reward, and to have fun whatever the result. And above all, to just be boys, becoming young men, playing sport, with all the stuff that goes with it.
Read more about being a Mother in a Man’s world here, reflecting on the book ”He’ll be OK, by Celia Lashlie”.