Big Boy

Dad looks pleased this morning. We’re wearing the same clothes. He’s dressed me in a white shirt, just the same as his. He gives me a hug and we get ready to leave. Mum groans and pulls a funny face. ‘Men’ she says as we set off. I have no idea what she means.

I’ve been on the Tube before but this time lots of people are wearing the same shirt as us. Dad holds me tighter than usual but he’s smiling. After we get off, we’re all going in the same direction; hundreds of us. My Dad picks me up and carries me pointing towards a big building, even bigger than my nursery. He tells me all about it but I don’t really take it in; I’m hungry. Dad buys me a burger and I cover it in tomato sauce. Mum doesn’t let me do that but my Dad just winks at me and tells me it’s our secret.

We go through a funny gate and climb the stairs; lots of them. Soon we’re in a place with so many chairs with grass in the middle and posts at each end; just like the park. My Dad asks if I know how many people will be here soon. I start to count; one, two, three but I don’t know enough numbers. He laughs and tells me a big number but it doesn’t mean anything. I just know it’s more than I’ve ever seen and it’s exciting. The building is soon full of people and men run onto the pitch to loud music. Some are dressed in my shirt and we cheer. Others are in red shirts and we shout boo, just like we did at the pantomime.

If we go out to a restaurant and I make a noise, Mum and Dad tell me to be quiet but here no-one seems to care. They sing nursery rhymes I don’t know, sometimes with bad words, and they shout at the men kicking the ball. Then there’s a huge noise like the roar of a lion. I can’t see because everyone stands up. My Dad picks me up and kisses me. That’s funny. He only ever kisses me goodnight, never in the day. Dad is happy and I’m happy too but I’m getting tired now. I have a little sleep and I wake up in the arms of my Dad being carried through the crowds.

The Tube is busier than before but people make room for us. Mum tells me never to talk to strangers but my Dad speaks to the people around him even though he doesn’t know who they are. The people smile, make jokes and ruffle my hair. I don’t like it but I think my Dad would be upset if I say anything so I don’t. He says it’s my first game and looks at me proudly. He tells me that I’m a big boy now.


About Peter Domican
Marketer and change professional. Writer and photographer.

6 Responses to Big Boy

  1. Deborah Rickard says:

    What a delightful story from a child’s point of view, Pete. It really sounds like it’s coming from a child! Well done.

  2. marc nash says:

    Ah yes a rite de passage for all us males in the UK. Well rendered, but I was intrigued by 1 thing – I grasp from the ending that his parents are still together, but in the following earlier sentence – ‘Mum doesn’t let me do that but my Dad just winks at me and tells me it’s our secret’ it’s the ‘my dad’ that makes me think the father doesn’t still live with them at home. It’s odd that just one little word did this in my mind.

    Also I think you can make a lot more of the metal monster that is a turnstile – must be very odd to a young boy, fearful even with those jabbing spikes.

    • Hi Marc,

      You’re right about the turnstile but they’re not spiked these days at my club (‘ealth and safety I expect). Maybe if I do a directors cut one day, I’ll change that bit!

      I hadn’t given a thought whether his parents were together or not but I can see the thinking and it’s given me the idea for another story.

      I think football is one of the few things that is really shared across generations. I wanted to explore that and the not so subtle brainwashing that goes on to ensure they support the ‘right’ team.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – it’s really interesting to see what other people pick up on.

      • marc nash says:

        I wouldn’t inflict a life of pain and misery on my two by making them follow the same team I do. I live in London but support a Midlands team, so they had a get out of plumping for a local club. One follows Spurs which is logical, the other follows Rotherham United which is a) barmily illogical and b) lines him up for a similar life of pain and misery anyway. I blame the Chuckle Brothers.

        Re the turnstile, I know they’re not literally spikes, but to young eyes I reckon they’re still pretty monsterish and can let the imaination run riot?

  3. Lee-Ann says:

    Cute story. I live in Australia but I’d say there’s a similar rite of passage and/or brainwashing with Aussie Rules or Rugby depending on what part of the country you live in. 😉

  4. Lovely story. I didn’t get the shirt immediately, so that was a neat revelation. I took the moment with the burger to be about Dads tending to be less strict about food than Mums & him not wanting her to know rather than them being split up…

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