‘I hope you know this was never about football’: coaching my daughter’s team

When we started training, I thought it was for her sake. So why do I dread the day my daughter hangs up her boots?

One day you’ll understand that this was never about football. It could have been anything. I just wanted to be where you were, as much as possible, for as long as you let me.

When you were five we had an argument in the car on the way to a training session. I don’t know exactly what it was about. As I mentioned, you were five, so it could have been anything: how I’d packed the wrong sort of corn crackers, or how after you’d bitten into one of them it had corners on it and you hated corners, or how I didn’t understand how much you hated corners because I obviously never cared about your feelings because I probably wouldn’t even care if you like died! If I really loved you, I would have bought the right corn crackers, the corner-less kind. It was one of those arguments. It ended as we stopped at a red light and you said something and I said something back, and you said something kind of mean and I lost my temper and said: “If you’re going to fight this much with me every time we go to train, I really don’t have to put this much time into being the coach!”

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