By the side of the far hockey pitch is a bank. It’s probably leftover soil from when they laid the astroturf but it makes a pretty good windbreak when the weather is horrid and on gloriously sunny afternoons it’s the perfect place to run up and down while ‘encouraging’ Daddy on the pitch.
The girls are so far showing every sign of having inherited both parents’ competitive spirit, and H’s love for hockey and I think they’re getting to the stage where they enjoy watching the game almost as much as they do the trip to the clubhouse afterwards for a small lemonade and a packet of crisps.
Kitty’s reached the point where she’s becoming a little self conscious about shouting, but Elma, oh that girl has a future as a hockey coach. Last year we worked on shouting “two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? DADDY!” but this year she’s got the bit between her teeth.
She stalks the sidelines, clutching at the fencing and bellowing “come ON Daddy!”, “run faster Daddy” and most impressively this week “Get a GOAL Daddy then I can have smarties!”, a tiny dictatrix in flowery wellies.
If everyone wants to run or crawl around we usually watch the match from outside the cage, only running in to hide in the shelter if it rains, but for many years that’s meant one eye on the children and one eye on the match, now that they’re starting to really get into it and follow along it makes being our little spectator crew so much fun.
Even Pip, newly released from the sling by the arrival of his snowsuit seems to be taking an interest, although he did also spend a lot of the match being very interested in a brick that he found by the side of the pitch so I’m not sure we can read too much into it.
So here’s to lots of sunshine on Saturdays, warm autumn afternoons and crisp winter days, for this year and a fair few to come because if (as I very much hope) they all skipped my sporting genetics and went straight for H’s, it’s not going to be that long before I’m spending most of my Saturday’s by the side of one pitch or another.