So, do you have a hobby?

I am currently amongst the great and good of the unemployed. Long story, for another day. I have what is known colloquially as an executive coach. We are working through what I might want to do when I grow up, what I want in life. Its been a good conversation, again a topic for another day. I am also going through intensive interview preparation. I have done a huge amount of interviewing, on both sides of the desk, but this is brutal and frank in the best of ways.

One question I have been asked is if I have hobbies. My stock answer is I have had children and they have been the centre of my life, supporting them has been my hobby. It is true, I have been there through so much of what they’ve done in their lives, and I have enjoyed every second. Though not all of that has been sport, my daughter has loved her drama, all three played instruments of various kinds, much of it has been sport.

With three it has meant some interesting logistics at weekends. Two parents, and three children in different locations has meant some military style planning and a number of favours given to get help. We never played favourites, and if one child didn’t have support from us one weekend, it would rotate. Now as adults I’ve asked the difficult questions, and thankfully none felt left out, or that another was favoured.

The boys have both been deeply involved in Rugby. We’ve been to so many rugby pitches on two continents. My daughter does a martial art, and I shall not reveal which one, as it rather identifies her. With her there has been a huge amount of travel. We’ve been to tournaments around the world.

Following your kids sports as a parent is a roller coaster. I feel their successes, and believe me I feel it when it doesn’t go well. Curiously, as I’ve been rather sporty myself, I feel for them more than I ever did for myself. There is also adrenalin to consider. They are out there burning off in pursuit of their own sport. I build it up watching, stationary, feeling the heart pounding, the muscles twitching. My hand is often left shaking.

There are moments of despair. Tears flowing from young eyes, hugs needing to be given. Hugs turned away as they work through the emotions themselves. You have to find words to be supportive as any hint of criticism can be a wound in a young soul you may not be forgiven. You have to hand over to coaches and hope they can correct and build on both success and loss. Often, all you can do is watch and cheer.

It has been my hobby for decades. I have been dad’s taxi, dad’s laundry service, dad’s delivery service to ensure appropriate nutrition is obtained, dad’s bag and ball carrier, dad’s run away and obtain or fix any random vital item. You know though, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now that children are becoming adults, and either they have moved on from the sport (rugby and injury, bloomin heck). Or adult life is intervening (a medical degree and elite sport aren’t the best of friends). I find a miss it hugely. I miss the parental comradery at the sidelines. Some of our best friends are through our children’s sport. Some friends have dropped away because our children no longer compete together (and isn’t that a sad thing). Mostly, I just miss it. The sport, the hanging on with your finger nails as they succeed or not.

Time to get a real hobby I suppose…

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