Will My Son Be A Sporting Superstar?

14/09/2016 13:18

They say it's every dad's dream for his son to grow up to be a sporting superstar, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't already pictured my five-month-old boy Sonny winning the men's singles title at Wimbledon, or scoring the winning goal in the World Cup Final...

It won't be easy for him, though, because his dad's bang average at sport. I'm the kind of guy who always gets into a sports team but is never the stand-out player. Never last to be picked, but never first either. And it's not for the want of trying.

My parents encouraged me to try everything when I was at school, from regular sports like football, cycling and tennis to more obscure hobbies like rock-climbing, canoeing and even horse riding (don't tell anyone). I wasn't terrible at anything - with the exception of being too wimpy to play rugby - I just wasn't very good either. I've played Saturday football to a fairly high level for the past couple of decades and would class myself as a slightly better than average tennis player, but that's it. End of story. From a young age I knew there would be no fame, money or girls coming my way as a result of sporting talent; but could it be different for Sonny? If the year he was born is anything to go by, he could be destined for great things!

As a family we loved everything about this summer's Olympics. Usain Bolt pulverising his rivals as always; the Brownlee boys bossing the triathlon; Britain's cyclists conquering the world yet again; Mo Farah turning from superstar to legend on the track; Andy Murray taking another step towards knighthood; and even minority sports like diving, gymnastics, taekwondo and kayaking basking in the golden glow of the Games. Watching the Olympics makes you realise anything is possible, and that with the right mix of natural ability, desire and dedication you can achieve just about anything.

I hope I don't turn into a pushy parent, but I also hope Sonny grows up to love sport as much as I do. He cheered, laughed and celebrated with us on the sofa as we watched Team GB achieve their best ever Olympics medal tally in Rio, and has already accompanied me to local football and tennis matches this summer. He seemed to enjoy the football but screamed all the way through the tennis, so at least I know where his early priorities lie.

Football has always been my number one sport and I already get shivers of excitement at the thought of watching my lad score his first goal. But since the only dribbling Sonny does at the moment is down his chin, for now I have to content myself with bouncing an inflatable beachball on his head and cheering each time as though he's just nodded the winner in the Merseyside derby.

I've got no idea what sport Sonny will grow up to love, or if he'll even love sport at all, or if he'll be as useless at it as I am, but all we can do as parents is give him every possible opportunity to find something he enjoys, then give him the support to become as good at it and go as far as he wants to with it. Unless it's rugby or cricket, of course, because they're both rubbish.

"Sonny George Reed, Heavyweight Champion of the World!" Now that's got a nice ring to it...

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