Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Next Generation... is football the answer?

Children need passion, They need focus, They need routine. THEY NEED A HOBBY! 

I believe without a hobby what have our children got for inspiration or to look forward to or even be passionate about. Whether it be Music, Art, Academics or Sport... Or simply collecting rubbers or coins... it brings a new meaning to a child's life to have something to focus on. Now a days hobbies are over looked by many and generally, for parents it's because of the cost of them but if we are honest it is mostly due to the fact it just isn't 'COOL' within the child's peers... there are so many schemes, clubs and groups out there trying to bring them back to being just that... 'COOL'... but do we need the help of this generation of parents get these activities out of the 'uncool' rut they are in by encouraging their children's dreams and ambitions, it may stop the breeding of the next generation of Rioters, which was caused out of pure ignorance and 'boredom' of the teens involved? Or will it just take the same 'sheep' system used in the riots to get these important clubs and organisations back on track?... you know the if 1 or 2 start going others will follow treatment... we won't know unless we try...

I hate the word BORED! In my house this word does not exist! In my mums house this word was treated like a swear word. I have always remembered the words she said about 'that' word...

'Only dull children with no inspiration and imagination get bored'...

I think she might be right you know, But I believe it's learnt via the parents and that they need to encourage activities in children, out side of school, you need to help your own children banish that word from their vocabulary... lets face it, it is bloody annoying listening to 'Mummmmm I'm Boooooorrrreeedddd'... and lets face it how many times can we say 'How are you bored? You own half of Toys 'r' Us'... This to me would ring alarm bells... Is it time for a serious hobby??

One of Kyd's many hobbies, just like thousands of children across the country, is Football. Love it or hate it, It is a good sport for a child to get involved with, girl or boy. So many different reasons for a child to love it and for parent and child bonding it is fantastic... as lets face it 99% of dads (and mums) have a team they support, even if it is Man Utd, the child will learn and make a better choice... I hope... Not only is It casually played in playgrounds across the world, making it easier for the child to make friends with other children with that interest. It encourages team play, making your child learn to share and work with others which is a skill needed for their whole life. It becomes routine and in turn encourages passion and bonding and it also, and most importantly... gives them something to do!!

So is this the answer to many of our children's future problems? it was for Kyd!

We LOVE football but I didn't really bother with it until Kyd showed an interest. I wanted Kyd to have more of a male influence in his life, as at that moment in time he was lacking in male role models. The male part of my family were so far away and his only parent (me) was a female... So we started going to footy with a few of my male friends and we have never turned back. We are in our 5th year of being season ticket holders at Reading FC and Kyd's passion is growing ever stronger. He has more knowledge on the subject than most 30 year olds... even with his lack of speech! He has the confidence of a cocky Xfactor contestant and he now thrives in large groups of strangers. He also now has some amazing role models and most importantly a hobby and a passion, which he can grow with and that can grow with him.... keeping him focused and out of mischief... and the ever so important in any Special Needs child's life ROUTINE! Saturday = Football! Home or Away, watching or listening on the radio... even at the seasons end he has DVD's to take it's place.
It has developed him in to what he is today and he has created life long friends and a life long passion. I believe he wouldn't be as far on in life as he is now without the opportunities that football has given him.

The Football League have started a campaign, that kicked off yesterday, called 'FAMILY FOOTBALL FESTIVAL' Featuring tailored family entertainment before games, after games and also during games. Over 47 npower Football League matches during October, November and December 2011 will be taking part and you can get your family involved. The teams involved are spread around the country and across all three npower Football League divisions, clubs are laying on loads of family fun activities for all ages including face painting, mascot racing, penalty shoot-outs, ‘meet the teams’ and live music most importantly... Every event is unique!

Reading FC had their Family Football Festival event at yesterdays match against Middlesbrough and NetMums sent us along to the event to review the action. This to me was to become a blessing in disguise as Kyd turned 9 this week and due to illness he has had a really hard week of it... So the following, you will agree definitely made up for it. 

We arrived at the stadium early to pick up our special tickets. We had brought Kyd's friend 'Mini Goldfish' along and the Hoff might have tagged along too... he wanted in on the action... so there were 4 of us all together. We were greeted by the young royals rep Sara who showed us up to our seats in the Bar 1871... to any non RFC fan this is the Posh seats that have their own bar and you pay extra for as a treat.... that or you're a rich businessman... either or! Anyway this was such a big event for Kyd as he got to go through the big doors and up the stairs... feeling very important he strutted up the stairs and showed Mini Goldfish the shirts that were lining the hallway. The bar has just been refurbished and it is looking fantasticly posh now so it helped us feel even more important. 
We then went on a lovely tour of behind the scenes!!... this is very exciting for a fan like Kyd... and maybe Hoff too he looked like he was going to faint as we walked into the dressing room to see all the shirts hung up ready and waiting... bless him!... Kyd was ecstatic to learn that not only did he get to see the changing rooms he got to go on the pitch side too! letting out a big excited squeal which amused a lot of the other tour members we proceeded through from the dressing rooms, only to be confronted by the goal keeper Adam Federici! also known to Kyd as 'Guns' (it's my fault he has beautiful muscles... this is the only reason why!) He was as lovely as ever and posed for a pic with the boys... OK I must admit out of all our players he is and has always been my fave and I may have gone all girly and played with my hair a little and gone all rosey... I am such a girl!... the Hoff actually pointed and laughed as we left the room... how embarrassing! After the fantastic tour done by Richard Wickson we went back up to the bar and had a breather before we explored the events about to start around the stadium. 

First we had chips in the sun... it was a must it was such a lovely hot 1st of October... such a strange thing to say! Then we saw Kingsley the lion Kyd's first love, and we got a sneaky pic with the Allstarzz cheerleaders preforming at half time... But after the boys put their tongues back in their mouths, we then made our way to the sauna that was, the Training Dome, where we watched the amazing Dan Magness who is a football free-styler. He gave us a little taster of his skills and then went on to teach the children and parents some of his tricks... watching the Hoff and the boys do the tricks was, quite frankly, the most amusing thing I've seen in ages! Their concentration faces were brilliant!... Mini Goldfish told me earlier today he didn't really like football... after that session we couldn't drag him away!... he is now a convert and he is a natural I was gob smacked at how quickly he picked up those tricks!... Dan and the RFC training team were brilliant and the boys, including Hoff, had so much fun. By this time we had just enough time to get a temporary tattoo done as it was too hot for face paint and make our way to Bar 1871 ready for kick off...

The game wasn't brilliant but we did play better than the past few games, although it was a 0-0 draw so no goals to add to our exciting day, but a point is a point and it is better than losing! It was goal keeper, Adam Federci, who we met earlier that day, that saved the game for us! His dramatic double save kept us with that all important clean sheet... which when talking to him earlier Kyd actually predicted... should have put a bet on it! We got a different prospective being on the quiet family side of the ground rather than the noisy end, it was a bit strange but the seats were comfy!!! We don't get cushioned seats in the East Stand! :sadface: 

All these activities and seeing all the kids in their shirts, also sitting in the family end made me think a lot more about Family Football and how people have a jaded view of taking children to football. Reading FC have won the family football club award for many years running and this certainly shows. Looking around there were families everywhere. In our stand (east stand) we have mainly men but a few hardened children with their parent(s). I know that one fear for parents is the Bad Language which is apparently standard at most football grounds and I fully understand that this won't change any time soon, but like most places you go it is quite a small number of people who use it often and most places have areas in which you will find you can avoid it and still have fun. 

*confession* I am terrible when at football, if I am honest, I swear at the ref myself, I can't help it sometimes I forget myself as I am so far in the game... but we have an agreement, much to the same as many other families around the regular football family goers... 'What's said and done at football stays at football' we have taught Kyd right from wrong and he knows not to repeat the shouting from behind us. He has only ever repeated a word he heard once and he will never do it again, after losing his wii privileges for a week in response. 

What I am getting at by this confession is that each to their own when it comes to language and I fully understand that some parents have stronger views on this, But don't let that put you off going to football... Like I said the family areas have very little disturbance from this as most football clubs support the Enjoy The Match Campaign. It is a fun and happy atmosphere even after a 0-0 draw they were all still smiling and happy. I spoke to a family in the bar today and asked if this was their first football game. It was the first they had brought their children to and I asked how they were finding it... Their response was amazing... 'I can't believe how nice everyone is'... what were they expecting a huge crowd of Danny Dyer film characters lol... this is a common misconception of football fans... it is not the case... We aren't all that bad!! And like this family said to me 'we want our boys to have a passion and to love something other than their computer games'... Isn't that what we all want? 

This event was brilliant fun and would be a great introduction to football for any child, teen or adult a like... So what's stopping you? whether you're a fan of football or not why not give your children and your local team your support at their Family Football Festival event... this is the perfect time to just give it a try... you might have a David Beckham in your midsts... you'll never know unless you give them the opportunity! It might change their lives... just like it did Kyds!

Click Here for a list of games near you...

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  1. Glad you realise now how and why I hated the word bored! So very rarely ever heard it at home, thankfully. Also loved football and really believed in hobbies - mine turned into a career. Keep up the good work. xx

  2. So glad you all had such a great time and were so well looked after!

  3. Yes mother your words did sink in... but only a few :)

  4. Thanks Kate it was great fun and Kyd had the best belated birthday!

  5. Shame it wasn't at the Emirates stadium.


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