Mr. Waffle normally takes on the slightly thankless task of standing at the edge of a muddy field somewhere in the greater Dublin area early on a Saturday morning watching Dan playing football or hurling.
I went for the first time in a while recently and I must say that the team have really improved and it was quite exciting to watch. Dan is very keen and throws himself into the action. He is very persistent and never gives up and he really cares about the game. This can be a bit of a problem when his team loses (or as a father on the sideline put it to me glumly once “the inevitability of another crushing defeat” – this was an earlier season, they are, mercifully, doing much better this year.)
I was chatting to one of the other parents on the sidelines briefly but it transpired that he was the deputy-coach (oh yes, several coaches) and couldn’t really talk as he had to shout at the boys. At the end of the match when I collected Dan, he said to me, “Are you Daniel’s mother?” OK, I really don’t go very often. When I confirmed that I was, the coach said to me, “He has the heart of a lion!” And he wasn’t being sarcastic or funny, I knew he really meant it, and I know it’s true. Daniel may not be the best player (he’s certainly not the worst either) but he plays his heart out. He cares more and tries harder than anyone else on the pitch and it was lovely to see it recognised.