The countdown has begun to our school’s annual 5-a-side Football tournament.

It’s huge!

The school takes kids from 4 months old right up until the leave high school, Matric.

The tournament is for all kids from grade RRR (age 3 – 4) until Matric (17 – 18 I think). So that means my eldest daughter is about to play for the third time, but it is my youngest daughter’s first time.

As it so happens my husband has tickets booked for an event in Joburg on that weekend which was booked before we knew the date of the tournament so I can’t really be mad that he’d rather go to a Bike Festival with his buddies (but I’m still tutting and rolling my eyes – it certainly is a man’s world). I mean, who wouldn’t rather do that than spend all day on the side of a soccer pitch watching 10 small kids either try to kill each other over a sphere with no concept of what they’re actually doing; or actually run away from the ball like it might burst into flames at any moment.

Think ‘herding cats’ and you might be close to imagining what it’s like. Football is not big here so most of these kids, especially the girls only play football maybe 3 times before the day, then 5 games on the day, ONCE. A. YEAR! Their skill level is off the scale, like it doesn’t even make it to the scale, that’s how ‘skilled’ it is. Bless them, they do love it though, and my youngest is super excited after spending two years as a ‘cheerleader’.

Every year the kids are separated into groups of 5. Each team is only girls or only boys, no mixed teams. Each team is then ‘assigned’ a coach, who is one of the parents of the kids in the team. The coach is in charge of arranging a few practice sessions in advance of the day, organising team kit (some folks go way over-board, but normal parents just get team t-shirts printed and colour coordinate their socks – I’m one of them.) They also help out on the day coordinating the kids, keeping score, reporting in etc.

I’m finally getting to the point of this post. I hope you are still with me …

Last year I was a coach for my eldest’s team – they came second btw. This year I have been asked again, for my eldest daughter. dun dun duunnn …

Surely in a class of 20 kids, which is 2 teams of girls (so a minimum of 10 parents but realistically at least 15 – some have bike fests to attend, others work etc) … they don’t have to ask the same parent two years in a row!

Is it because I’m a SAHM they assume I have nothing better to do? I do actually … I blog – do they have any idea how time consuming that is?! Pfft!

Now seriously though, you have to understand, I am VERY bad at saying “No”. I can be guilted into almost anything. It’s really bad.

The teacher even confessed that her and my youngest’ teacher had both wanted to ask me but she’d got in first. Why?!?!

If my husband were going to be there on the day I would probably have agreed to it, but when I thought about all the coach’s responsibilities on the day, I know I can’t do it. My youngest is playing for the first time and it won’t be fair or responsible of me to not be with her, as well as running back and forth between two pitches because I’m pretty sure they will end up playing at the same time, and god forbid I don’t attend my eldest’s games as well – she is super competitive! Last year her and her bff had a couple of on the pitch fights over the ball – they were on the same team!!!

I’m already stressed just thinking about it. I definitely need to invest in a hip flask!

Before you ask … nope, I have no family around to help out, and all my friends will be busy with their kids. Like I said, it’s huge.

So how did I say “no”?



I wasn’t quite as ruthless. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that I wrote a note to the teacher in my daughter’s day-book.

Yes, I’m a chicken. In my defense I know that if I’d had to have the conversation with the lovely desperate teacher, who my child adores, I may have caved again!

So why do I feel so awful?

Surely there are other parents available?

Or do others just feel rocks to saying “No!”? I don’t believe the other 14 parents have the same legitimate excuse that I do. Call it 13, cos one other parent of girls was a coach last year. Do they just not want to be involved.

Just another reason I could never be a teacher! Respect to you all!

Why can’t I say “no”? This happened two days ago and here I am writing about it at 09.30pm two days later.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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