So, the teachers went on strike, we met some friends in the park, there was an uneven number of children wanting to play soccer, I didn’t like the look of the ensuing conversation about who would have to sit out, so I said ‘how about if I play’.

‘Yay! Yay! ThirdCat’s gonna play.’ The two big girls jumped around.

My boys looked at each other. I’m almost certain they raised their eyebrows. ‘She can be in your team,’ they said.

‘You go in goals,’ the big girls said, ‘cos we’re really good at attack.’

After my eldest boy had scored three goals against us and I had scored one own-goal, the tallest of the tall girls said ‘maybe I’ll go in goals’.

Halfway down the field, my left foot tripped my right foot over. I am a grown up, so must laugh such things off, but fuck, it hurt (and would for days to come).

I scored a goal!

And then, I had to go in time out, because there was a boy, crying on his mother’s lap, his face etched with the etchings of a ball kicked by an inaccurate foot, and his words ‘I don’t want ThirdCat to play any more’ and my boys ‘she’s hopeless, our mum’.

The moral of the story is: pay teachers more.