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My daughter came home from school a couple of months ago with some exciting news she wanted to tell me. She had persuaded her primary school to start a girls football team. I think there may have been one in previous years, but it must have faded away from lack of players.
For my American readers let me clarify that we are talking about the game of football invented by the English and what is commonly known in the U.S as Soccer, and not what we call American Football which to us resembles the game known as rugby.
My daughter has been to some football matches at Carrow Road to watch the mighty Norwich City F.C but I didn't think it had kindled any interest in playing the game itself.
Anyway she approached a teacher to ask why there wasn't a girls football team, and if they would help to set one up. He agreed to help if more girls were interested so she and another friend went around asking other friends if they wanted to play. At the first training session during the lunch break four girl's turned up. After a couple of weeks there were five girls playing, but these numbers weren't enough to justify the teachers time. He is a very good teacher that runs many different children's clubs during school term so his time is limited.
Undaunted she approached some other teachers who have an interested in football. Two agreed to give it another go if more girls showed an interest; so they approached girls from the higher year groups, and after two months the numbers had increased to twelve girls.
The school was impressed enough to enter two teams into a inter-schools five-a-side tournament. It was being held at the Norfolk F.A training Centre at Bowthorpe in Norwich on the other side of the city during the school day last Friday.
After dropping the good wife off at her office so I could have use of the car I drove to Bowthorpe to watch one or two of my daughter's games. Their team didn't even have a football strip to play in until 24 hours before the tournament, but one was found. They looked a motley crew with shorts that were too long, and baggy shirts, but I was pleased it was in the same colours as Norwich of yellow and green. Some of the other girl teams had very impressive sets of strips with sponsorship from large national companies.
I didn't get to see much because when my daughter saw me she told me she didn't want me to watch. There were no other parents there so my presence embarrassed her! I agreed to leave and as I tried to give her a good by kiss on the cheek her friends started to take the mick. I slinked off but just far enough so I could watch a game without anyone knowing I was still there.
What was the teams performance like? Well you know the saying, "it's not the winning that counts, but the taking part that is important." Well on this occasion is was 100% true. They lost every game but you couldn't fault any of the girls for their enthusiasm.
The good wife and I always say that our children are made up of a little bit of me and a little bit of her, but one thing my daughter has got from the both of us is her determination.