As someone who helped run the local kids’ summer project and sporting activities for many years (in Dublin) when my youngest was small, I agree with former Ireland international Damien Duff’s sentiments when it comes to dealing with that heady mix of kids, sports and the so-called know-it-all parents.
You see, obviously feeling frustrated, poor aul Damo, (also a former Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United star, so it’s clear he knows his stuff), revealed last week how he’d often had to tell obnoxious mammies and daddies to “p**s off” when they interfered in the smooth running of his youth team.
Now I’m no expert when it comes to sport, or kids for that matter; because being a mother doesn’t make you an expert – it simply makes you experienced – and I only decided to get involved in the summer project thingy because my youngest wanted to join with her pals. And, in the interest of being honest folks, as a responsible mammy, I refused to allow adults I didn’t know take my baby off on day trips or other activities that involved camping out overnight, etc., hence my decision to join the committee, help out and meet some very nice like-minded people who still remain my friends today.
However, this summer project initiative involved a whole lot more than dealing with kids from ages 5 to 16, it also meant me taking a month off work to arrange and execute it (at my own expense), meaning I was seriously out of pocket, but that wasn’t the worse part! Oh no, the nightmare developed when I had to deal with otherwise intelligent parents whose odd personality kinks emerged when they didn’t want to face the bitter truth that their little darlings’ participation in certain activities were, ahem, not up to their expectations, and I’d find myself engaged in what became regular late-night one-sided conversations where my only participation would be to ask the irate, very often alcohol-infused mammy or daddy, (and sometimes both) standing at my hall door – “what is it that you want from me?”
Now Duff, whose gripe involves some parents ‘getting involved’ – saying “my little Johnny is this or that” added he’s also getting verbal regarding the early-morning training sessions he’s introduced for the team and that’s unfair both to him as the coach and the kids who’re trying to carve out a sporting career for themselves. You see, I believe early mornings, discipline and routine is positive character building for kids; and aren’t these early risers the very ones being championed by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar? However, while most parents are happy to trust the coach, we will always have know-it-all critics who ruin their talented children’s chances by continuously crossing over boundaries.
In addition, when that coach is a straight-talking expert like Damien Duff, who won’t pander to their unreasonable demands, said parents slink off and find a source of solace through social media platforms sharing their sense of superiority and grandiosity with like-minded eejits who forget the end result is all about sport and their kids’ learning experience and development opportunities; and not about getting an extra hour in the leaba. Seriously, it’s clear, some folks need to understand two things; one, their kid is lucky to be coached by an individual who has played football at the highest level; and two, life isn’t like a visit to Burger King; sometimes you just can’t ‘have it your way!’ So, er, know when to butt out!
I’m no granny, I’m a biker chick nana
Regular readers know I’m a proud grandmother; and when I heard that my former Evening Herald colleague, the gorgeous fashion writer (now with the Irish Indo) Bairbre Power wasn’t keen on being called ‘granny’, I knew exactly where she was coming from. You see, for those of us who entered ‘grandparenthood’ at a young age, it’s understandable that the title ‘Granny’ might seem a bit, dare I suggest, antiquated.
I’m called Nana because for me, ‘Granny’ kind of conjures up the image of a whiney Peig Sayers(esque) aul biddy, bedecked in a shawl knitted by her own hand…now no disrespect whatsoever to any gorgeous readers who’re called Granny, but the thing is, I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, and it doesn’t involve being stooped over in a chair and taking afternoon naps. But I am thrilled to be a grandparent, especially when my granddaughter says “hanging out with you Nana is so cool; especially when you ride your motorbike!” so I don’t feel at all like an aul wan with sensible slippers! Mind you, what does freak me out is the realisation I’m old enough to be married to her grandad! Ouch!
Oíche shamhna sásta le gach duine
Have a happy and hazard-free Halloween folks and give a warm welcome to any cute little ghosts, goblins and gremlins who come to call. And remember, keep your pets indoors away from loud noises or scary masks and costumes; enjoy the season and, when purchasing that pumpkin, make sure you support local growers. Cheers.