Whether it’s driving you to training, paying your annual fees, forking out for new boots or acting nurse when you’re injured, there’s not many pros who’d be where they are without their ‘rents.

With Christmas less than a week away, The Football Sack has parental appreciation down pat, so you needn’t Google what to write on your Christmas cards this year.

Footing the bill

Youth sports don’t come cheap and parents often go into them with their eyes closed and their wallets open. How can they say no to the next Ronaldo? A keen dad in the US took note of his daughter’s sporting costs during 2011 – accounting for annual fees, special equipment, uniforms and petrol, food and hotel costs for tournaments – to find that they racked up to more than $11,000. With those damned “administration fees” rising every year, who knows how scary this year’s total might have been, and that’s just with one budding sportsperson!

There’s always time

Soccer parents are always on call and they might as well paint that minivan yellow for all the taxi hours they’ve clocked up for you. Driving to training, to tryouts, to team dinners, to specialist practice, to games; missing meetings, weekends, sleep-ins and home. Oh, you lived rurally? You must be an I-Spy expert.

Life coaching at its finest

When you didn’t make the Under 12’s school team, when you lost the grand final last year, when you injured your ACL right before selections, when you worried that you just weren’t good enough. Who picked you up? Mum and Dad. All they want is for you to be proud of yourself, but it’d be hard to be prouder than they are. Let’s also never forget that somehow they found the discipline to deal with the crazy parents who never grasped the concept that youth football does not equal professional football.

They put their bodies on the line

Whether it’s nipping their fingers cutting up half-time oranges or realising too late that they’re not as young as they used to be, parents are actively involved in your sporting growth. There’s more than 50,000 sporting injuries in the country every year and sports-mad dads throwing back to their heydays probably make up a significant portion.

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You’re never too good

Parents, jeez, who else would support you in every football endeavour despite the odds that you – sorry – probably won’t become pro. Walking out of a Mariners match recently, I met the parents of midfielder Anthony Caceres. His mum: “we come to every match we can drive to”. His dad: “eh, he’s alright.” For them, their son making a career in football is just a bonus.

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A 20 year old Media and Law student trying to tame those stream-of-consciousness writing habits with an ickle bit of fun at the Central Coast Mariners.