Saturday, March 31, 2007

Blood and tears

He had just scored an underserved goal to take the lead against Bethel Under 7's when it happened. Around about the half way line, there was a ball to be won and in he went. Bethel's biggest and best player had the same idea. There was a clear and horrible "krakk" and my son stopped moving.

He had his back to me and I couldn't see his face. But the look of shock on the ref's face, and the quick sprint of the opposition manager told me enough. He started screaming before I got to him, but that's not unusual. At this age, I have seen players scream when the ball hits their thigh on a cold day.

He was already shaking when I arrived, his right leg hanging limply before he slumped. I lowered his sock to see the damage, and there was blood, and swelling to the area between shin and calf, and it had turned a shade of blue/green.

I am the sort of Father who deosn't believe in mollycoddling. A quick glance and get on with the game is my usual tactic. Even now, I wasn't convinced of the severity and asked him if he wanted to play on. We've never beaten Bethel, and with him back on his feet, I thought we might be able to hold on. When he just looked at me and cried, I softened a little.

There is something about carrying your wounded and weeping son off a football pitch that changes a man. I can fit my hand around his skinny little bruised leg, and he clung tightly to me as I cradled him. I can't remember feeling more responsible and more paternal since the day he was born and the whole ward cheered because he wasn't a ginger.

His injury was worse even by the time I approached the touchline. As the parents all stared with concern, I imagined myself as the Irish priest carrying the wounded back in Derry on Bloody Sunday. Luckily, his opponent's Dad is a Doctor and was able to examine him pretty quick. We took him inside and put some tiptops on his leg - strawberry, rasberry and cola flavours.

After an hour, his face had gone white and the swelling was no better. The Doc didn't think it was a break, but we couldn't be sure. I took him off to Casualty.

As usual, the Casualty department was full of people in adidas leisurewear. It should come with a health warning, as there is obviously a higher chance of injuring yourself if you are wearing adidas trackies. We waited about 45 minutes before we were called. I realised I had been stroking his hair for most of that time, and blushed.

My son looked pitiful. He barely looked at the Doctor and answered in mumbled single syllables. Though it doesn't help that he was unable to communicate in his first language - Welsh. Eventually the Doctor asked him if he could walk. "Don't know". "Haven't tried".

At which point, my little cherub rose, placed both feet on the ground and paced around the ward like Iolo Williams climbing Snowdon. A full recovery and a very sheepish parent.

We spent the afternoon in Llanystumdwy watching Felin lose comprehensively to the League leaders. My son spent the whole game playing football with the locals behind the goal. There's a lesson there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. At least the injury brought out a side of me that I didn't realise was there. I do care after all, even if Bethel did equalise in the second half.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An excellent article on the joys of parenthood. Keep up the good work Eric.

Our parents had to put up with this in a double dose as my brother and I were often getting injured, even though we were a bit older.