Little Rover

“I am taking The Baby to her first football match,” announces Daddy, “so she will grow up supporting Doncaster Rovers. They need all the help they can get.”

“Sounds wonderful,” says Mummy, thinking about the lovely afternoon of shopping she will do while Daddy and The Baby are out.

“I have got a family ticket,” says Daddy, “it will be a lovely family day out for all four of us.”

“Ah yes, of course,” says Mummy.

Because hardly anybody supports Doncaster Rovers and those that do live two hundred miles away, Daddy has no trouble at all getting seats in the very front row, right on the sideline with a splendid view of the pitch. Everyone settles down on the flippy chairs and Daddy begins explaining the rules of football to Big Bro for the gazillionth time, for Daddy is blessed with a son who neither likes nor understands the game, much to Daddy’s disappointment.

Soon the game is in full swing and Rebel Baby is having a whale of a time.

“Aaaaaaaaah!” roar the crowd.
“Aaaaaaaaah!” shouts Rebel Baby.
“Oooooooooooh!” sigh the crowd.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” squeals Rebel Baby.

Although The Baby has absolutely no idea what is going on, Mummy thinks how adorable it is that she copies everyone around her (though prays she doesn’t learn her first word any time soon as some of the language being shouted is most unsavoury.) It soon becomes clear though that RB isn’t just echoing the crowd. She has her own agenda, squealing and shouting with misplaced excitement at strange intervals, apparently fixated on the match but lacking any sense of timing or understanding.

As Mummy watches The Baby deep in concentration and cheering at will, it slowly dawns on her what it is that has so captivated and inspired the little one. Her tiny little eyes are fixed most firmly on the linesman, who cuts a fine figure in dashing neon yellow, galloping up and down just inches away from where they are sat. Back and forth runs the linesman. Up and down leaps Rebel Baby, screaming herself hoarse every time he passes. From time to time, his flag shoots up and she almost falls off her seat with excitement.

The final whistle goes and the match ends in a 0-0 draw, but one person has certainly scored a place in RB’s heart. She leaves quite smitten by her first taste of the game, and no doubt dreaming of a balding man in a yellow jersey and tiny black shorts.

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