Soccer played by eight-year-old girls is enormously entertaining to watch. The entertainment is fuller when I view the game as an umpire and, best of all, as the dad of a player. I suppose it doesn’t matter what the sport is; looking on with pride and delight is a grand thrill.

My daughter isn’t in my care after school on the Thursday that the games are played. Most often, she is collected from school by mum and I have moments in those afternoons when I wistfully wonder what she is up to. When the sporting seasons come around, it creates an opening to cheer Miss 8 from the sidelines or to run up and down with the flow of play adjudicating the game.

I hope that your dad status draws you to your children’s games. When the daughter or son you don’t otherwise see clears the ball to the other end of the ground, or they converge on the ball at the same time as five other players, I hope that your heart ticks over a little faster, just as mine did. I want to know that when you get an extra sighting of your child making chatter to a player on the other team, that your heart smiles. Mine did.

And, at the end of the game, when she sneaks in a hug, all your dad DNA does a happy dance too. You get that too if you are a single dad who gives to your child just by turning up. Know that your beaming dad face on the sidelines calls out “I CARE” to your child.

Precious Moments

Earlier in the day, I had to pop into Miss 8’s school and overheard my daughter’s name being called. “Your dad’s here!” was the excited cry to my daughter. All at once, she was surprised and quizzical and happy to see me.

We shared a fleeting stroll into the morning tea quadrangle that we mixed with an explanation for my visit and a hurried hug, before I split out to be at work. Although it was barely three minutes, it may well have been three hours for the feeling of having my dad heart topped up.

I don’t get to do school drop-off and collect as much as I would like. Yet, I was pleased to be recognised by my daughter’s friends, enough to affirm that I must be a presence to them as Miss 8’s dad. I didn’t visit the school to see my daughter, yet having unexpectedly shared a chance encounter sent a gratifying happiness into the core of my being her dad.

My mum and dad visited my football games. They cheered me on and talked me up after the game, when my own sense was that I played like I should have stayed home with a jigsaw puzzle. Even now, being old (according to my children), I can still trigger the sensation of being mum’s and dad’s sporting hero by winding back my memory to primary school Saturday morning football.

Fast forward thirty-odd years, and I like to muse that I will be cheering on some grandchildren. I like to think that my adult daughters and I will be gifting our child and grandchild with the legacy of feeling like a star, with a fervent knowledge that they are cared for.


Photo by Pixabay.

Published On: July 4th, 20230 CommentsTags: , , , , ,

About the Author: Greg McInerney

Greg is the father of two daughters.

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