Thursday, April 25, 2013

Family death match

I reach out full stretch.

Nothing , its all just air.

Then as fast as conventional physics teaches us, the earth is in my face and catching my hip with all the grace of a hippopotamus falling off a skateboard.

I lie there - the dust swirls gently in the fading sunlight and the sweat trickles off my face mingling with the dirt making little tiny mud puddles. Both of these things are useful in hiding my tears at yet another loss.

At the other end the victor stands, defiant. The Beloved has won.

Another family death match has been decided.

I get up and dust my self off, get a beer and sit down to wait for the pain in my hip to subside. The boys are still laughing.

The eldest declares " time for me to whoop your butt little  man" and with that it's on. Our match is forgotten and the the two boys are at once locked in a similarly intense battle.

The volley ball set we got for Christmas ( the above matches ) really is just part of the long running competitions we are constantly engaged in. We don't mind too much what it is - just that they have to be able to be competitive for all of us , so weight lifting or formula 1 racing are out.

( I am thinking though, we should get a clay target set and some shotguns for next years summer games and only because The Beloved  banned bare knuckle boxing after I dislocated a finger and the youngest went to school with a massive bruise in the middle of his forehead.)

I like the fact that we are competitive. I try and teach the boys that life is like that it's a competition. Not all the time, but lets face it -

You compete for school results
You compete for a Uni place
You compete for a job and your promotions
You compete for all sorts of things

So you need to know how to compete. There are rules.

There are consequences if you act badly during competition.
That's where the fine line and the parental boundaries come in. Time and time again I see parents acting badly during their child's sporting activities and I caution both boys about what is acceptable during sport or indeed any competition - win or lose.

But family death match is different. Anything goes, because sometimes breaking the rules and watching it all burn down is just so much fun.

I still remember the stare and the long silence punctuated by further glaring after, because during a very close game of golf  The Beloved was in front of a bunker with a short pitch shot to get on to the green.

                                                                              image courtesy of

Being only 1 shot behind, I thought ooohhhh that's an easy shot , how funny would it be to say

" Tough shot , don't choke".

 Except that instead of saying it in my head I said it kinda out loud. So instead of easily making the shot and wining - the ball hit the bunker and it took another two shots to get out, and the lead was surrendered.

I still have a cute little scar on my knee from her putter.

So as I watch the boys go about their weekend  sports I  am filled with a sense of impending doom. With their bodies slowly lengthening and muscles filling out, it seems inevitable that our my reign at the top of the family death match table will all too soon be over.

Think I'll buy a croquet set next, after all it's only a game  - right ?