I don’t know how many Saturday afternoons I spent standing on a milk crate next to my dad. We stood together along with my brother, cousins and uncle(s) supporting Watford FC through the highs and (mostly) lows of 80’s football.
I loved it. We all did. I still remember some of the conversations my dad and I had as I stood on that crate. I remember asking several thousand questions about the game and life and anything else that came into my head. I remember leaning into him when I started to get tired or cold. I felt safe, and happy and content.
My dad is a great dad. And since becoming a dad I think I’ve realized just how great a dad he has been and continues to be. Many of the games I played with him, I’m now playing with Adlai and Koa. My brother, dad and I spent many hours crowded around a small hole in our kitchen floor talking to the ‘little man that lives down the hole’. He would play the role of ‘the little man down the hole’ and we’d chat away with our faces pressed against the floor. Koa, Adlai and I have now found a suitable hole in our house and play the same game. However, my ‘little man down the hole’ voice is nowhere near as convincing as dad’s.
The ‘little man down the hole’ was just one of many great childhood memories. The football wasn’t ever really about the football. It was about relationship and quality time with my dad. Through the questions and games and conversations I learnt more about who I was, I learnt some of what life might be about, I learnt that I wasn’t alone and I learnt that I was loved.
I can only hope that my boys learn the same lessons from me.
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