It’s something thousands of volunteer coaches and parents have done over the years. Taken a car load of kids to their Saturday morning football game.
Despite owning a perfect team transporting, pre-mid-life crisis people mover (a Mazda MPV aka ‘The Big Red Car’) I’d never taken more than a couple of kids to a game.
The teams I’ve coached so far have been blessed with excellent parents. The sort who would be at the game to support their kids just about every week.
But Saturday was a Perfect Storm, of sorts. Maybe because we were expecting an actual storm around about when the game was on and the parents didn’t fancy it. They were probably the smart ones.
So The Big Red Car was chokka.
The first part of the trip was fairly quiet. Even though a couple of the kids know each other outside of football they all don’t. They only really all run into each other during training and on Saturday at the game. They go to several different schools so they don’t even see each other during a regular week.
That meant that, apart from the noisy confident one, it took a while before the conversations started. When it started, though, it was hilarious.
Early on they all started talking politics. One kid mentioned John Key, ‘The Prime Minister of Australia’. He was immediately shouted down. Quite rightly so. ‘Nah, nah, he’s the President of New Zealand.’
Then came American politics.
The kids mostly agreed that Donald Trump is an idiot; a classic case of our media talking through their parents. One kid thought Obama was cool because he gave all America’s money to the Air Force. He was disappointed Obama couldn’t carry on but soon had the two term Presidential limit explained to him by one of our other passengers.
Wow. These kids know stuff.
Part of the road through Scotsman’s Valley, the back way between Matamata and Hamilton, is windy and rolling and resembles a sedate roller coaster ride. I got a few cheers as we went through the dips. Thankfully I didn’t make any of the kids car sick (although that has been known to happen).
As we came out to the straighter roads, near Tauwhare School, we were all shown where Bigfoot lives. ‘Up there, in the bush.’
‘Bigfoot. He’s big and black,’ exclaimed one kid.
‘Nah, he’s brown you egg. He eats all the zombies.’ Quickly corrected as only 8 year olds can.
As we neared Hamilton a game of Truth or Dare broke out. I’m not really sure how it started, but the conversation hadn’t exactly been linear so it seemed only natural.
I was worried for a bit, but about the worst it got was when someone was dared to hit themselves in the face. I couldn’t quite see in the rear view mirror, but my guess is the blow wasn’t too hard.
I had several chorus’ of ‘are we there yet’ and ‘how long to go?’ before making it to Grosvenor Park and taking ages to find a car park.
We lost the game against a bigger, quicker team but the attitude of the players was great and the improvement in the second half after we corrected some of our first half errors was really pleasing.
We got wet, as expected, but the tree we had our gear under kept it mostly dry, and the sun was back out before we got in the car to head home.
The best – or worst – moment of the day came as we were heading back to the car. One of the kids turned to me and asked: ‘Have you been drinking?’
‘Not today mate. It’s still morning. Why do you ask?’
I didn’t think my driving was that bad. Maybe it is 🙂