Having children opens the door to that beautiful opportunity to re-experience life through their innocent eyes, and watch them teach you how to effortlessly live in the moment.
Raising children in Dubai opens up another world that I never knew existed. My troop love their sport, are constantly on the go and the mere thought of winning as much as a ‘participation’ medal, drives them like athlethes preparing for the Olympics.
I remember their first trophies. Much to the disgust of her twin brother, DD won ‘Most Improved Player’ at the U5 football sessions held at JESS school at the Ranches. DS1’s disappointment was slightly alleviated by a medal….but I am pretty sure it something he has never forgotten. DS2’s first trophy was for the best wacky hair at summer sports camp (even though the trophy suggests he won it for football!) and DS1’s first trophy was for achieving the ‘Most Improved Player’ over a season in U8 tag rugby due him starting off in the development squad and then making it as a regular on the first squad.
In between there have been medals and certificates; too many to count or even correctly match them to a specific accolade. Each and every award has been celebrated as if they had won Olympic gold, the World Cup or Sports Personality of the Year. Brimming with excitement and pride, we have celebrated each and every one….even those awarded for weekly attendance at summer camp!
However, over the years, the kids have had amazing experiences related not only to their success in their preferred sports, but also to their mere particpation. I think it started when my boys took part in a penalty shoot out on Dubai’s Marathon day, as sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank. Overseen by Liverpool legend, Robbie Fowler, my boys seemed non plussed as they struck their shots as perfectly as they could (as DH was having kittens at being within touching distance of one of the ‘Pool’s greatest!). The fact that 6 year old DS2 was one of the two winners was an amazing additional bonus that saw him winging his way to Liverpool’s home at Anfield to be the team’s mascot against Spurs. Grandad, DH and DS2; three generations were mesmerised to see their heroes up close and watch DS2 have a kick about on the hallowed ground with super captain Stevie G!
At the major rugby tournaments big rugby names are invited to support the events. Our first year of attendance saw former England captain Lewis Moody, award the kids their trophies and medals. They came away with autographed boots, shirts and anything else they could get their hands on. When DS2’s team placed well in last season’s rugby, part of the prize was a personal training session with rugby 7s greats, Waisale Serevi and Ben Gollings (an evening where Dads were probably more excited than the kids!). More autographed shirts, boots and paraphenalia.
The boys’ football squads have been invited to visit the UK and take in a game at Old Trafford and join in some training sessions with a couple of London teams.
Last week DS1 had a go karting lesson with the 21 year old world champion, Sean Babbington. Swerving, weaving his way through chicanes and apexes, DS1 didn’t know he was born!
Recent research shows that experiences bring more happiness than possessions…..what can I say but my kids must be the happiest on the planet!