I used to be a soccer mum.
My eldest started playing football aged 5, for Forest Rangers in Cinderford in 1997, the middle child joined him in 1999 aged 4 and for the next 14 years, I spent 2-3 evenings a week sitting in car parks at training and weekends spent locating fields in the middle of nowhere for matches.
I cannot begin to image the number of hours or the mileage I've driven, the time and cost of getting lost, even in convey. The rain and snow storms I've stood in, the number of times I've dug holes in the pitch to drain the water. The cups of teas and bacon butties made at home games, first aid administered, meetings attended, training, lifts given, the amount of subs collected or the money raised and the time spent organising presentation evenings. The kit washed and boots cleaned and tears dried when games were lost. I was never just a spectator. I dread to think how much we've paid for kit.
The boys have played football and/or referred in the Forest of Dean, Malvern, Birmingham and many, many tournaments around the UK. There have been trials, there have been holiday clubs and middle child spent 2 years training with Birmingham City.
The middle boys trophies.
Promotion back to the Premiership
Wembley and a close up of David Beckham.
FA Cup Finals
Ellis Park and the vuvuzela.
Sponsorship with McDonalds and local and national trophies won.
There was a core group of around 6 kids who played in this team for 8 years.
With Geoff Hurst and Eric Harrison
Being the goalies mum is nerve racking.
Training session at Tuks, South Africa.
For many years our lives as a family revolved around football, playing, watching, supporting, fundraising and I even worked for the local FA for 2 years.
I get to Birmingham City when I'm in the UK with a combination of kids, with hubby or on my own. I miss the football and the way of life, the socialising, the training and the matches. At the time it was hard work and very time consuming, but a great way to spend time together as a family.
How do you spend your family time?