Monday, November 30, 2009

Harming the innocent

I have started this season taking our elder daughter (nearly 8) to watch Cambridge United. We went on Saturday to watch them lose 2-1 and go out of the FA Cup. She then got home to find out her favourites - Natalie and Vincent - were kicked out of Strictly Come Dancing. Not great all round. Not even the Abbey Stadium bacon rolls could cheer her up at the end after the Us had huffed and puffed around the York City goal for the last five minutes trying for the draw.

You can see the 'highlights' below. They miss out the bit where the York fans unfurl huge banners in the away end and are greeted by some predictable but funny comments from the Newmarket Road massive. (That's another thing: she has broadened her vocabulary quite a bit since we've been going, even sitting in the 'Family Stand'). And they also miss out the York keeper scrambling to keep the ball out as he's bundled over the line in the last minutes. Good angle on the delightful Brodie's miss, though...

Am I harming her by introducing her to the net (geddit?) disappointment that is supporting our local team? Yes, there are good times. (We've seen them win 7-0 this year. I think that might have given her a false impression of what it's generally like.) ButI know she has already been mocked by some kids in her class who have decided that something a bit more Premier League is clearly the way to go. I know I can pretend that she is gaining the joy of supporting the local side, being able to go to the matches more or less every Saturday they are at home, feeling part of a community and all that. But wouldn't it also be nice if the team she supported won something every now and then? Since I first went the Us have slid from what would now be League 1 (the glory days... I can't claim to have witnessed the thrills and spills of the John Beck era, but I did like Lionel Pérez's highlights...) to the Blue Square Premier and I can't see them getting out of there for a good while yet. She already has her favourite player, but the chances are he'll move on in the next transfer window.

So I can't shake the suspicion that I might be doing something bad by taking her along. Yes, I think I can make the case that in the long run this is a good, character-building, sort of thing for her and I do really enjoy our Saturday afternoons, but she hasn't (I admit) really chosen to support the Us. And I suppose she will at some point decide it's all a bit daft and tell me I can go on my own from now on. But will the damage have been done by then? She'll have seen us allow the visitors a two goal head-start and throw a lead more than enough times. Then again, at least she's not paying nearly twenty pounds for the privilege...

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