Oliver loves super-heroes at the moment. If he watches TV he asks for a super-hero show. His games are often about saving people and involve his Power Ranger and Transformer figures (when he's not pretending to be Spiderman climbing the walls). Every morning he asks to dress in a different super-hero shirt and mostly gets his way. (We prefer him to have clean shirt each day but a new Superman shirt last week made it to Day 4 before we finally drew the line!) Our Flickr account is peppered with photos of him as dressed as Superman, Batman, Spiderman...
Our heroes are people who inspire us. So you could say that the little man was a bit of hero himself this week. After his proud moment at football training the other Saturday, his enthusiasm inspired me to set a Fatherly example to him and start playing 5-a-side football again.
For about 15 years spanning much of my late twenties and thirties, I used to play 5-a-side football and outdoor football on a regular basis. I was no Pele, but I enjoyed it immensely and it helped keep me fit. But like so many things from the days before having kids, it gradually got squeezed off the agenda in the last few years.
I last played about four years ago.
So last night I put that right and turned out for a friendly game with some familiar old faces and a few younger new ones at a local sports hall. I had all the style of Bambi on ice and the stamina of fattened pig. It was heaps of fun!
But my oh my oh MY, am I aching today!
And it's always worse after two nights, so I am envisaging me as a feeble tottering wreck tomorrow morning. The kids may yet have to get ME dressed at this rate.
But it's a small price to pay, because I came home from my game to find Oliver thrilled to see his Daddy in football gear, immediately asking me about the game and grabbing a ball for us to practice in the living room. I don't need more reward than that. And it might just get me through next week's repeat performance of lung-busting heroics.