Tag Archive | teenagers

Facebook Friends

There has been a lot of criticism about Facebook and its use. Are “friends” really friends? How can you be friends with someone you’ve never met? Facebook friendships are shallow and meaningless and people should get a life instead of spending all their time on the computer.

Ha! Ha!

I have just spent a couple of days with a Facebook Friend and his family in the depths of sunny Wiltshire and my son and I had a great time! Now we are all Facebook Friends and shall be for a long time I suspect.

I have “known” Andrew for almost a year, and in that time we have become good friends helping each other through the dark and often lonely times of depression and anxiety. However much one’s friends and family are there to support, it helps to have a friend who knows what it feels like to have the world pressing down on your chest and shoulders squeezing out every morsel of sensible reason and hope instead giving you a feeling of panic and fear. Someone who can rationalise the thought-patterns and turn negatives into positives; someone who won’t and can’t judge you, recognising the causes and symptoms of the extreme emotions as one’s own.

I have met Andrew during the year, and heard about his lovely family. His two sons are clearly his pride and joy and he is very proud of them both. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew’s wife and youngest son at the weekend and they couldn’t have made us more welcome. It is fortunate that my son and Andrew’s son are the same age (only 17 days difference) and they share a love of sports and just being 16. The 9 holes of golf played yesterday afternoon was a source of much hilarity and we certainly got to know each other much better on the rather chilly fairways and fast-running greens. Dad even turned up at the 6th tee with a flask and chocolate! Could it get any better than that?

Actually yes it did as we also met the two Springer Spaniel puppies, at 12 weeks a recent addition to the Cooper-fold and simply adorable. Andrew did tell me pointedly this morning just before we left that he had padlocked them in their enclosure…….I wonder why! It was very tempting to stage a kidnap attempt of Rosy and Lily but I dug deep and resisted the temptation. In addition we were treated to some lovely meals and expert baking (Domestic Goddess in residence) so I was perfectly content!

Thank goodness for Facebook Friends! I am lucky that my Facebook Friends really are friends and I appreciate that.

Anyone who tells me otherwise clearly don’t know what they are on about!

Under 16’s football

O my goodness. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I was taking an excited, skinny 6-year-old William to his first football experience ” Mini kickers”. His new traditional black boots were a tiny size 6/7, his shin pads barely clung to his little legs and he couldn’t do his laces. On the field I spent a good hour laughing at the two groups of enthusiastic boys and girls chasing the ball around like a flock of seagulls tracking a fishing boat, none of them with the faintest clue about positioning, tactics and passing the ball to each other. When they all finally caught up with the ball it more resembled a rugby scrum than a football tackle with arms and legs flaying all over the place until the ball was kicked (accidentally) out of the ruck. I found it hilarious but at the same time I realised that I had expected far too much of William and his team mates. I had, very naïvely, expected them to be placed on the pitch by the coach, to stay in their positions, to understand the difference between person-to-person and zonal marking, to pass the ball to each other preferably down the channels, to throw the ball down the line (preferably to one of your own team) and finally, to play towards the opposition’s goal not your own! How wrong I was but after ten years of training, coaching, academies, victories, draws and defeats, cups trophies and medals, cuts, bruises and a serious knee injury I now have a strapping 16-year-old confident young man who loves his football and today is about to embark on his last season of youth football.

His boots-size 11-are now pink and black and embossed with his name. His spare pair is green and gold but nameless. (Thankfully he can do his laces) He tackles and passes, uses the channels intelligently and gets battered and bashed in the process. But he is still excited about the new season. He wants to fetch his new kit. He is determined to win and already has his sights on the opposition strike force even though he doesn’t know who they are yet!

It is also as exciting for me today as it was 10 years ago. The pre-match build up and drive to the match. Cadbury’s Caramel bars and Lucozade Sport. Hair gel and Lynx. All part of our football experience.

In keeping with the last 7 seasons I still have to make a season-long promise to Will NOT to run onto the pitch should he score a winning goal, hug him and tell everyone “that’s my boy” It’s hard but mums get so proud and whilst at 8 years old it was uncomfortable, at 16 it would be unforgivable! So, I have my rules too.

This season I will make sure that I enjoy it whilst I can. Next year he will be 17 and will probably want to drive himself to matches. That’s fine.

I’ll be watching, in disguise, from behind the hedge.

Unless the Under 18’s need a mascot of course………!