I took advantage of an early finish at work on Tuesday to watch my young son play football. He's only 5, so it's football in the loosest sense of the word, but even so, he's come on a lot since I watched him last. I should make more effort to do it more often as he seemed to really respond to me being there.
As always, the young lad was decked out in his Charlton home kit, which i'll confess made my eyes glaze over when I saw him stood alongside his little pals. Apparently, so my missus says, he's never once asked for anything different despite being the odd one out. Of the 12 young lads at the club, there was pretty much an equal split of Arsenal and Spurs kits on show, with Liverpool and Chelsea making up the remainder. I wonder sometimes if he'll succumb to the lure of the more 'popular and glamorous' clubs around him. I doubt any of his teammates would have heard of Charlton.
But it wasn't all bad. I'll confess I liked the fact he was put with the Arsenal boys when the session demanded teams (reds together). I spent many a happy Saturday afternoon swaying back and forth on the North Bank watching Arsenal with my mates when I was a young teenager, so I'll always hold a strong affection for the Gunners.
Regular readers of this blog may recall that earlier this season my Mum and me took my son to his first ever Charlton game. It wasn't the resounding success I'd hoped for (he was unnerved by the crowd noise) and since then I've taken a bit of a step back from pushing football or Charlton on to him. I still favour the thought that he'll make his own mind up and it will be all the better feeling (for me) if he does become an Addick. I take it as a good omen that he seems quite happy to be in the minority amongst his peers. I'm not really one for conforming with the standard, so if he takes on my personality in this regard, he may cope perfectly well with being unique.
At one stage my boy ran through and drilled a wonderful shot passed the goalie (who was staring off into space at the time) before spinning away and celebrating in the outstretched-arm style favoured by David Beckham (apparently, they are encouraged to celebrate their goals, which I think is a nice touch). Just for the briefest of moments, I was transported to the East Stand and found myself cheering an Addick's goal with all the usual passion, before recoiling back down on my seat slightly embarrassed by my wild overreaction!
I don't do high 5's - it's an annoying Americanism that I detest with a passion and I actively work against it. My boy well knows this (I'm not particularly proud of this fact, by the way, but a man must hold firm his principles) so when at the end of the session the coach instructed the lads to 'high 5 everyone', my son and me simply indulged in a good, honest firm handshake, whilst I ruffled his hair and told him Chris Powell may well have been watching the goal he scored. He smiled.