COACH TOOTS

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So yesterday I took my 7 yr old Tahi to his 1st game of Miniball for the season. For those of you that don’t know…Miniball is like Basketball for wee ones. For those of you that don’t know Tahi….saying that Tahi is controlling,  over dramatic and inflexible in play, would be an understatement at the very least.

I loaded the boys into the car and headed off for the Primary school . The whole way Tahi told me he was feeling scared. He asked that if he didn’t like Miniball , could he quit the team. He was terrified the others might tackle him or that he might drop the ball and get laughed at. I too was feeling a little nervous. This is the 1st of my boys to do the whole ‘School Sport’ thing. My dear  Tahi has the co-ordination of a drunken Chicken at the best of times. I soo wanted Tahi to feel proud of himself today and know him well enough to know that his challenges often leave him feeling like a failure. All the Miniball Mums would be there, talking about their children’s latest achievements. Swapping recipes and telling lovely wee anecdotes of how their husband and children did that cute  funny thing together whilst they were all out frolicking through a paddock of fresh spring lambs on their families ‘Sunday FUNday’ this week. Yep…I was dreading it.  Visions of Tahi having a melt down on the court cos he didn’t catch the ball while Toru had one of his epic 3 yr old tantrums. Rua would  try to get his 4 yr old self onto the court so he could play with his big brother and disrupt the entire game. The Miniball Mums would look at me with pity and dissapproval..They would smell my fear in a heart beat and pounce. I was sure of it. Saying things like ..” Wow…I don’t know how you do it? I only have 2 boys and I find it exhausting…AND I have a husband to help!” , “But you’re dong such a GREAT  job” * patronising smile to boot*.  ” If you ever need a break….”      Bah humbug!!!!!

As we arrived at the lions den, I was delighted to see that my dear friend , Rose, the English Rose was there too. She too has 3 children . Her daughter had signed up for miniball as well. Her 4 yr old boy ‘ Mitch’ is having a Bromance with Rua and was happy to see us arrive. Sweet!! That would be Rua entertained for the duration of the game . We sat down and prepared to watch. As it turns out ,when the school asked for volunteer coaches for the season… I had promptly pretended I didn’t get the memo and ignored the request but  Babydaddy had volunteered.However..Babydaddy works at sea. Week on. Week off. This week he was away…and whilst the ‘The Breakers’ had their Miniball Mum coach sitting on her teams bench all  “I’m so supportive and   coachy like”, my wee fellas team ‘The Red Bulls’ had an empty bench. The teacher in charge stood on the court and said “Would someone please volunteer to coach The Red Bulls for this game?. They  really need someone”. She was looking directly at me. Of ALL the keen perfect Miniball Mums she had could have stabbed with her eyes of lasery emotional guilt trips…she laser beamed ME.!!! There was no avoiding eye contact and slinking away out of this one. Dammit! “Sure Ms  Laser Eyes, I’d LOVE to do it” * does best impersonation of happy to help cos I’m and enthusiastic Miniball Mum smile*

I made my way to the bench. Making sure I asked what exactly it was I was supposed to be doing. ” Only ever 5 on the court at a time.Just make sure they all get a turn on the court” said Ms Laser Eyes. . Sweet. I could do that. So I sat on the bench and did the best I could to appear to look like I knew how the game was played.. To have them think that perhaps …in a past life I had played in the NBA.There  was 5 on the court already. I sat next to 3 boys. 2 of them had shaved head and rats tails. Brothers. Bob was the eldest. Chopper was his younger brother and stood at about 3ft  high. Also there was Mike. A tall solid lad that, I suspect, may have something up with his hand, as it curled over a bit like a hook if it was resting. Instantly  Bob  was at me. “Can I go on the court? I wanna get out there!! Oh come on. When’s it gonna be MY turn. It’s not fair!!”  Ohhh goooodddd!! I was in for 20 minutes of this!!  Mike just sat quietly. The game started and I proceeded to  internally  curse Babydaddy and his stupid volunteering to coach and his stupid job making him not be there and his stupid making me pick up HIS slack. This carry on was partly why I left him. I was STILL having to do it. Dumb  feckin’ Babydaddy!!!

The game started. I held my breath anticipating Tahi might  trip over his own feet in any second. My subs started yelling out encouraging tips to The Red Bulls. Things like “WASTE THEM YO!!” : “JUST FOOT TRIP THEM, YOU EGGS!”  “KICK THEIR BUTTS!!” Within a minute into the game it happened. The ball was passed to Tahi. For a fleeting second I could read the fear and self-doubt pulsing through his little body. All eyes were on him.  I held my breath.He bounced the ball and moved with it. He stopped. He passed it. Tahi, my unco little chicken,was grinning from ear to ear. He had done it. YUSSS!!. At that moment,Chopper the delightful 3ft blonde rats tail kid looked up at me with his wee eyes and said..” I just wanna get out there and SMASH the other team”.  ” Then SMASH them you will , Daniel son”. I started subbing the kids on and off. Little chopper went like a firecracker. I’m not sure he ever got to touch the ball, but he was having a blast running from goal to goal. Mike was a machine. A big strong lad that could move the ball from one end to the other. No one could stand in his way. A  8 yr old  miniball version of  Jonah Lomu if you will. These kids were alright. I found myself calling out things like.. . “Pass it” “Just take a shot” ” Good effort Chopper” . I was even clapping and shit!!  Half time came and it was time for  a wee team talk. I started..” It’s not how you play the game…It’s whether you win or lose. Oh. I mean…ummm….at the end of the day …it’s a game of 2 halves….hit the showers! Oh shit. umm hang on..it’s only half time…ummmmm”  Fortunately  Rose, the English Rose  was a netball player and had come over to sit with me on the bench. She had some tips for the team that seemed pretty sound.  ” Yep. Do what she said” I barked.

The rest of the game was much like the start.. Tahi occasionally got the ball and managed to pass it on and even get a few shots at the goal. Young Chopper darted around the court with maximum enthusiasm and minimal direction. The kids subbed on and off with little fuss  and I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself.Cooper got a Goal for the Red Bulls and the team roared with excitement. As did I.

By the end of it all I had had a blast. The kids enthusiasm and excitement was contagious. I was all over this Coaching yolk. Perhaps I would be more than happy to be Babydaddy’s fill in when he works. Babydaddy would rather drink a cup of cold sick than have to work with me in any way shape or form. But feck him. Drink away  Babydaddy cos I’m getting me a Bumper sticker that says ” Honk if you’re a miniball mum and lovin’ it ”
BEEEEEEPPPPP!!!!!!

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