I’ve wanted to write for quite a while about a topic very close to my heart. despite the fact I can easily imagine others looking at it as a complete non-issue. I’d like to start therefore by proclaiming that I am a strong believer in the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Indeed I am very fortunate to be among wonderful supportive ‘villages’ that both make my parenting life easier and also enrich the lives of my children. A predominant one of these villages is my sporting community. My husband is an avid aussie rules and cricket player, so year long our saturdays are taken up by sport, our sundays by recuperation and the week for preparation. I also play and love netball but this year made the BIG decision not to play for the same club as my husband but another local club which plays in a different league.
It was an incredibly hard decision to make, especially when at the start of the season I was basing the decision most pressingly on a memory I had that I wanted to change clubs next year. At the start of the season I couldn’t precisely remember why I’d been feeling that way but I decided to trust that memory and try out for another club.
Things that made the decision difficult:
- I love the club I was leaving behind – the people and the sense of community
- They were struggling for netball numbers – actually I thought they would only have one team instead of the usual two which meant I’d be ok
- Friends not understanding why I was making the decision
One thing that would have changed my mind:
- My husband was very against the idea. He’d said so and yet (and yet) he didn’t (wouldn’t) discuss it with me. He wouldn’t give me his reasons and he didn’t (wouldn’t) ask for mine.
My husband won his grand final yesterday, I am so happy for him and proud BUT I am also now sitting here in bed reflecting (crying involved) on why I want to make the same decision again next year. I’ve decided to put finger to keyboard and communicate some of these reflections.
Reasons I made the decision:
- The lifestyle/culture – the only way to celebrate a grand final is to drink all night and all day, or at least that’s how it feels to me. I’m not good at this. I get tired and grumpy and unsociable. I’m more a stay home, read a book, cuddle up kinda girl.
- I don’t think my husband minds this about me but I feel like I miss out. I want to be apart of his victory, I want to celebrate with him but it just doesn’t work that way.
- There are other wives/girlfriends who seem to be able to do this and I’m jealous.
- As I’ve said I LOVE so many people part of this sporting club. My children have so much fun with friends there. I decided though that there’s a difference between loving people and wanting to spend majority of your time with them. They are my family but they are not the people I would sit down and chat with for 4+ hours on a weekly basis. We are different and that’s ok.*
- I started to hate particularly after training nights walking in and waiting to find someone to sit with. It was a weekly decision/agony and why should I put myself through that?
- Training nights were the same for both me and my husband making child care difficult. Also due to tea and socializing they were late.
- Relationship/family stuff – I would always feel like as soon as we arrived at the footy oval my husband would clock off. Now was his time to prepare for the game while I was responsible for the childcare even though involved in my own sporting game. He would often be last out of the change rooms and sometimes I would feel that even after he did arrive out he would not look to acknowledge or come see me. This was his domain.
It was the right decision to make, for me. Not so much our family, we missed out on travelling together for games and the kids missed out on seeing as much of their friends. I would still often head out to club rooms after my games, which would be nice but not great. I enjoyed playing netball with a different group of girls. I enjoyed that the focus was solely on netball and not working on maintaining a whole community. I also appreciated the flexibility of training on a different night.
But now we are at the end of the season (actually I still get to play in a grand final next weekend!) and I still feel the same way about many of these issues. I believe it’s important to my husband for me to be there as a sign of support but I want to be wanted for my company.
There is no conclusion to this story, it’s a work in progress. In good news for me though my husband and I are starting to see a counselor so maybe just maybe by the start of next season we will be making a decision together.
*I’d like to note that some of these people I would happily spend endless hours with and that some of my feelings are likely overly swayed by my moods. I also want to say how supportive many of these people have been – a number will be there to watch me at my grand final next week and an even larger number asked me yesterday how my team went.