Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

A Celebration Of Boys Through Sport August 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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”.

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Row, Row, Row Your Boat! April 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I love rowing!  Or more precisely I love my men-children rowing.  As my friends all say, the best way to keep a teenager out of trouble is to keep them busy.  So the more sport they do the better.  Bring it on!

Now that’s not to say that we love everything about rowing.  I can’t say we’re huge fans of the 6am starts, at least 3 days a week – including Saturday.  There goes the weekend lie in!  Thankfully Father of a Man-Child volunteers to take them most days – that’s because he’s one of those lucky people who can walk in the door 20 minutes later, hop back into bed and be snoring, I mean slumbering again within 30 seconds of his head hitting the pillow.

I, meanwhile, am still wide awake having heard all the preparations to get them out the door, and thinking damn I can’t go to 6am gym class because that would mean leaving 7-year-old daughter asleep in an empty house for 10 minutes. (I kid you not I am on my own here.  There are a few gym junkies I know who don’t even blink at leaving their kids in bed whilst they exercise – they just leave the phone number of the gym)!

The upside of the early morning starts is that the men-children cannot possibly be late for school on these days – there’s no excuses when they’ve been there since 6am is there?  And they get to eat breakfast – what man-child would turn down bacon and eggs before school?  I think Man-Child II tries to balance being early by being extremely late on the other days, just to ensure he doesn’t look like he’s being a model student.  The only problems arise when they forget something important, like school shoes (doh), and expect Mother of a Man-Child or Father of a Man-Child to take time out to drive through the madness that is school traffic to deliver them.  If it’s lunch, trust me we wouldn’t bother.  They can go hungry or buy something!

Of course with rowing (just like with rugby) comes a whole new world of language that is completely foreign to me.  There’s the ERGO’s (short for ergometer) they do on a regular basis (a simulated rowing machine basically to measure their performance) and the quads, fours, eights, sculls, firsts, seconds (referring to crews) and then cox, stroke, bow (boat positions) etc.  I know the cox is typically a smaller boy and sits at the front of the boat, but that’s about all.  And then there’s unique rowing terms to learn, like “catch a crab”, “jumping a slide” and “feather”.  And we’re not at a beachside playground.

With every new sport comes equipment, in this case there’s the specialist (read expensive) uniform, a rather snug all in one rowing suit.  Naturally my men-children being very different, one wears this with pride, as do all the senior rowers, and the other one simply believes it’s far too “gay” and therefore chooses the fitted shorts and singlet – really it doesn’t look very different, but psychologically it clearly is!  We should be thankful they don’t need any shoes for rowing – saves us a small fortune having them barefoot.

For a short period this season the boys actually ended up in the same quad crew – it didn’t last very long, but it’s bound to happen again.  Part of me thinks it’s a good thing they’re apart, and part of me likes the idea of them doing something together in a small team – good for their mutual respect for each other.  We’re yet to attend our first official regatta for the boys.  I’ll be fascinated to go to a Head of the River event as a parent to see how it compares to those I attended at Barwon River as a teenager.  Just like the Melbourne Cup, we weren’t there to watch the rowing (or horses), trust me!

“Ready all, Row”