Let it affect you for a moment… So I’m on those pictures where the national champion, the champion of the Eredivisie, is posed with the scale.
After the match we got a glass of champagne to celebrate the championship. Deserved or not, a good glass of bubbly I don’t turn down! While I was wondering whether, despite a win for the team, I had really contributed to the championship, I was told that I was helping the team out in difficult moments and was therefore a valuable addition to the team. That’s true. My first race was in Zwolle, it took three hours from Roosendaal to get there, while recovering from a big flu (bad luck, isn’t it) I went on the track because otherwise there wouldn’t be a complete team on the track. Realizing that gave me enough reassurance to be able to take a sip of my champagne and to celebrate the party! Even though I fell in with my nose in the butter.
The annoying treatment of my leg did make for a less pleasant period, but it was necessary to literally keep my elderly body going, as seen by the top sports eyes. Luckily it all went well and recovered and I can go back to work for a few years!
I don’t owe this special experience, national champion, just to myself. Also to the rest of the team. To Victoria Rotterdam, Stephen Cooke and Ronald Permentier. Thank you for the hospitality, conviviality and for the support and coaching!
Imagine a random situation at home. What are the conversations about? Are they always about squash? No, no, also about other topics? E.g.; “What does the week look like?” Read: what needs to be arranged in terms of food and transportation in connection with squash training. “Let’s see what’s on the agenda this weekend”. Read: can we all go to that birthday, or do we go separately because of the tournament………………………………….. And then there are all kinds of conversations about physio, sports equipment, the importance of good food and sleep (because preparation for the tournament), holidays (or there are training camps), etc…
After all, school is the most important thing of all, right? But that’s also what squash is all about; When is the test week? Doesn’t that coincide with tournaments? Holiday training? Will they be at your school during the holidays? You have to get good grades, otherwise you won’t get permission for your tournaments abroad! What further education are you going to do? Are they flexible about training and tournaments?
I see parents who, in my opinion, are far too fanatical about their sporting child. It’s just a hobby, it’s about “the fun”. But why do I see parents who just get ugly when their child is about to lose? Or if an idiot screams when their child makes a point. Or, even worse, they grin when the opponent makes a mistake or even becomes sad. Or even worse, who don’t speak to their child if he/she misbehaves in a disgraceful way!
For us, the most important thing has always been to gain life experience; to learn to deal with winning and losing, to be able to stay abroad alone, and to get along with everyone else in the world in social terms. In other words: experiences you can use for the rest of your life.
And then comes the day he or she indicates that they don’t like it so much anymore. “All the pressure, all the pressure, all the people who expect something from you. I’m tired of that”. We have always said: as long as he/she likes it, fine. As soon as he/she doesn’t like it anymore; also good! But the latter is not fair. It hurts, you are sad, surprised and also a bit disappointed. After all, he or she has invested years (and you too) in money, time, effort and care. And that’s suddenly gone. You see all the opportunities and possibilities that are offered to him/her go up in smoke. All experiences that he/she could still have are not going through…
Nonsense! He/she is still young and can, so to speak, turn around tomorrow like a leaf on a tree and pick up the hobby more fanatically. If not, then not. We can’t go into the future.