Football Fan (Not)

Ah, sports… everyone’s favourite topic of conversation. Except mine, that is. It’s not that I actively dislike it; it’s just that I don’t really know much about it, and have very little inclination to prioritise changing that. Unfortunately, here in Melbourne it’s considered de rigueur to have a footy team, as my colleagues never let me forget.

They say I’m doing my kids a disservice by not taking them to the football, but I beg to differ. The kids can all play an instrument, know who James Turrell is, and are competent at making sushi. They don’t need sport to grow into well-rounded people. Still, I occasionally take the critiques to heart and wonder if I should be helping their school buy new soccer netting instead of donating to the library. People like sport – that cannot be denied.

Maybe I resist sport because, as a lad, I was denied options for extracurricular learning – there wasn’t enough money for music lessons or circus summer schools, not that these were on offer anyway. The only thing to do in my town was play footy. I hated it, largely because it felt like I had no other options for having a social life. Now, whenever I walk past the AFL barrier nets at the park, I can’t help but shudder inwardly.

Now that I’ve realised this, I guess it’s a bit clearer that I’ve been imposing my own discomfort around sports on my kids. I mean, I wouldn’t have stopped any of them if they’d expressed a desire to play soccer or cricket or even rugby league, but I never exactly made it an option for them. In a way, I’ve done just what was done to me – I’ve imposed my values on them.

Well, at least my values have resulted in them having excellent taste. It’s really not the end of the world. But perhaps I should go a bit easier on Emily’s soccer-mad school friends, and consider investing in that basketball hoop Cameron wanted for the backyard.