Oldies in league of our own in support of grandkids
WHO would have thought us dear old grannies, grandads, nannas and pops would have anything in common with the great football coaches of the world?
But I reckon we give the best of them a run for their money, although there's no big pay cheque for us.
There's been a lot of talk about some big games across different football codes this week and that got me thinking about how grandparents are the ultimate coaches, the unsung heroes in the game of life.
As parents we play in the top league gaining valuable experience and skills. It doesn't matter how hard we work, success is never guaranteed, but win or lose, we keep on showing up for our kids.
When grandchildren arrive the goalposts shift. Of course, it's still a labour of love but it's a chance to move into a coaching role where your experience is valued but you don't have to do all the hard work.
It's still a critical role and every team needs a good coach. They might not be on the field but it's the passion for the game and the understanding of the players' strengths and abilities that can lift a team's performance.
Like any good coach, I find myself watching my grandkids' every move, offering guidance when needed (and sometimes when they don't) and always encouraging them to give it their best shot.
I'm happy to let Mum and Dad be the umpires, making everyone play by the rules and calling the shots. But I'm there on the sidelines, cheering them on and keeping their spirits high.
I hope they know I'll be the one they can count on when the scoreboard goes against them, like when their Mum or Dad makes them eat their dinner. I'm also the one who is always ready to celebrate the big victories, like learning to blow bubbles or ride a scooter.
I'm into my second year as a grandparent and the players list recently increased with the arrival of my third grandchild. At the moment, he's getting a free pass on just about everything - he is just eight weeks old but I'm thrilled to have him on the team.
The older two are not so lucky - they are learning that nanna means business. And she will say no to that biscuit (well, the second one) and I will walk away from a toddler tantrum.
After all, good coaches must be willing to tell their players when they need to work harder and commit to the game and that we won't always say what they want to hear.
I don't really care who won the State of Origin or which countries are left in the World Cup but I hope my grandkids grow up to think I am the best coach in the world.