The one where Em Rusicano is told she can't watch her daughter's netball game.

Em Rusciano actually ENJOYS watching her kids play sport on Saturday mornings.

I’m pretty sure I just got disinvited from being a spectator at my own kids sport by my own kid.

Can she even do that? That MUST be against the rules? As you all know: One of the main payoffs from all the facets involved in parenting a junior athlete is occasionally living your dreams through them. I do it privately of course but I admit to doing it. I love bursting with pride, who doesn’t? I love being there to give the reassuring nod from the sidelines should it be required.

Incidentally I give EXCELLENT reassuring looks. Squinty and warm with just a touch of arse kicking around the sides. Needless to say, I didn’t react to this snub well.

My eldest child is about to start playing Netty in a new team, she plays centre, generally dominates the play and has excellent feet (that’s Netty talk you won’t get it if you aren’t into Netty. By the by: Netty is netball.) We were in the kitchen a couple of nights ago and I said to her:

“Babes will all your games be at the leisure centre? I was thinking each week I can just run down there with the dog and we can walk home together.”

I had this vision of her and I walking back tossing the ball between us, getting hot chocolates you know; just hanging out. I can also confirm “Wind beneath my wings” was playing, I was her age and there was a great deal of super slow mo involved.

“Mum, I don’t need you to come to my games okay? I will be fine. Just pick me up after it finishes.”

Yes. She totally said that, like it aint no thang.

“What do you even mean?! Since when does NEED come into it mate?! I enjoy watching you play, you are really good. I played Netty, Netty is OUR THING.”

Em: ever the proud parents on the sidelines.

I was losing her.. I could see her eyes glazing over, this conversation was well over. How long had she been working up to having that chat with me? I needed more information. Was I a bad supporter?! I didn’t think so. I am so far from the worst side lines Mum, one lady insists on turning up each week in the team uniform. Skirt and all!

She doesn’t coach and I am extremely certain she doesn’t play. She sits in her little rusty fold out chair, has a tartan thermos, a basket full of food and she basically abuses/coaches anyone that comes into her field of vision – umpires include. If goals are scored I clap politely, like I’m at the golf. Not a woo or a hoo to be seen. I even contain the fist pumping to internal ones.


“Seriously, why can’t I come? Is this an independence thing? Are you being a break-a-way teen? I get that by the way. Have we crossed over into my Mother is embarrassing territory already? Are you making a stand for real, is this your final offer?” I asked.

“No Mum, none of the other parents are coming. They work during the day, it would just be you. Don’t worry about it. By the way you were embarrassing in grade 6, so it’s not that at all. It’s just a school comp, it’s not that important. You just don’t need to be there.” She replied.

How sensible slash kind is that? Even if she is lying to me just to spare my feelings, she knew to lie to me to spare my feelings. She is down playing the importance of the comp so that I don’t feel the need to attend. Even if she is only saying that for that exact reason and the comp is the secret junior Netball olympics with the Queen herself umpiring, she found a way to explain it so I felt okay about being rejected as a spectator.

I felt soothed after that. That kind of self awareness and emotional intelligence will hold Chella in good stead for the rest of her life. We both left the kitchen feeling as though we’d had a win.

I know a lot of you will read this and think “get a fucking grip Em” and that’s okay I regularly say that to myself anyway. However some of you will feel me, some of you are nodding your head understanding my manic need for my kids love and approval. My need to be there for every triumph and my need to be there just in case she needs me to be there.

Her first game was this afternoon, she was best on ground by a mile. Assisted nearly every goal, gently shouldered her opponent when the umpire wasn’t looking and looked the other Centre in the eye when they shook hands at the end of the 4th quarter.


Oh AS IF I was going to stay away, she didn’t anything about me sitting outside looking through the window and never letting her see me did she?!

No, she certainly did not.

Do you like supporting your kids at their sports matches? Would you be upset (or, er, enraged) if they didn’t want you to come any more?