Matt Heath: Sporting chance turns into Easter treat

Publish Date
Wed, 3 May 2017, 10:13AM
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Matt Heath: Sporting chance turns into Easter treat

Publish Date
Wed, 3 May 2017, 10:13AM

Why do kids have to play sports? If you have more than one child you'll know how differently they turn out.

Same parents, same upbringing, totally different attitude. This is especially noticeable in the cauldron of school holidays.

Both my boys are great New Zealanders but one is sporty while the other isn't.

He's more of the cerebral type. He's the kind of 7-year-old who sits around talking about the key differences between the Marvel and DC universes rather than cricket. The inconsistencies in Pokemon taxonomy rather than rugby.

I was passing a ball around with the two of them the other day when the non-sporty one asked: "what's the point in this Dad?",

"Isn't it a bit of a waste of time standing out here doing this over and over again? Can I have your phone for a minute?"

I explained to him that a parent's job is to produce the complete human. Brains, brawn and social skills.

A powerful mind is essential and that's what school, study and reading is for but you also need to physically interact with the world around you. Your body is the medium for that.

Sport is a great way to build hand-eye co-ordination, fast decision making and general fitness. The lessons learned in a team environment are useful across every aspect of life.

He pointed out that he learns hand-eye co-ordination and teamwork playing Call of Duty: Blacks Ops III online. I pointed out that Call of Duty is an R16 game and he's only 7. He pointed out that R16 games are better than G-rated games because they're more violent.

He was making some good points. So we struck a deal. If he could stand 10 metres away and catch the ball 200 times in a row I would put him completely in charge of what we do the entire next day.

It was a safe bet. He'd spent the last 10 minutes zoned out looking the wrong way, discussing his problems with Lego Batman's range of vehicles.

He theorised that as a master builder Batman would only need one mode of transport as he can transform it into whatever type he requires on the spot. Also he hadn't caught three in a row all arvo.

Anyway, now that it counted he easily caught every ball I threw at him and immediately laid down his rules for the ultimate day.

Rule One: No sports.

Rule Two: We never leave the house.

Rule Three: Scary games and movies in the day, happy movies and games at night.

Rule Four: He and his brother would be allowed to eat as many Easter eggs as they wanted.

The day started with Easter eggs for breakfast. Making only a small dent in their massive stash.

From 9am to 12pm we played the groundbreaking zombie apocalypse game The Last of Us Remastered. So scary, so emotional, so violent, what an adventure.

"The lesson? Listen to your kids sometimes. Every now and then let them decide the course of their lives."

Hell Pizza and Easter eggs for lunch. David At ten borough's First Life VR experience and Easter eggs 12.30pm until 1pm. More Easter eggs.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the new film from the Harry Potter universe which he food-matched with microwave popcorn, soda stream and Easter eggs.

From 3.30pm to 4:30pm a hand-to-hand, ultra-violent Minecraft sword fight on my bed followed by a huge Easter egg and it's insides.

Next we watched Screaming Reels the brilliant new Leigh Hart and Jason Hoyte fishing show on Duke. At 6pm another Hell Pizza with Unholy Donuts. Rogue One, Easter eggs, popcorn, Call of Duty, Easter eggs and finally Pokemon XYZ: The Series on Netflix till bed.

My plan had been to spend a day running around hiffing balls at each other.

Instead my son took us on a spiritual tour through space, time, fantasy, the natural world, culinary delights and fishing.

The lesson? Listen to your kids sometimes. Every now and then let them decide the course of their lives. On this occasion my son was right and I was wrong. I accept that.

Although later that night he did throw up all of his duvet, pillows, bedside lamp and into his open Marvel Universe Encyclopedia.

I arrived mid-disaster as he sprinted across the room towards the bathroom but instead vomited again right into his Lego box. Some went on the new fluffy rug, some on Iron Man the rest all over his brother's cricket whites.

Still. Best. Day. Ever.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.

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