This is from March 2013 and talks about how I encouraged a friends’ son to follow his dreams, to what he and I had hoped might be a career in professional cycling, like his father. He enjoyed much success locally and in Italy through the ranks but sadly a problem with his back halted his sporting aspirations. Fortunately, he’s a resourceful youngster and he’s followed Plan B and I still get regular calls.
My friends’ son tends to call me at least once a week. Having set him on the road – we hope – to a career as a professional rider, he likes to keep me abreast of his progress. He recently won his first race against stiff and older opposition. To say he was as pleased as punch would be a veritable understatement. Me, I regarded it as the first in the long line of many victories.
This week, the call came early, Tuesday evening. He needed to ask me for a favour. He’s racing in Marseilles this week-end and the rendezvous point is in Antibes at 6:00am on Sunday morning. Even before he asked, I confirmed he could a) stay overnight and b) I would drop him off in Antibes on Sunday morning. In truth, I haven’t changed the bed linen since he last spent a few days with us, indeed he refers to our guest bedroom and bathroom as “his bedroom and bathroom” and, you know what? No one’s arguing.
I got another call Wednesday evening which gave me an opportunity to check what he should eat Saturday evening – pasta. Plus, I need to prepare a cold pasta salad for him to take to the race. No problem, I can always rustle up a pasta dish. He needed to ask me for another favour. Would I pick him up in Antibes after the race? I’d already factored that into the equation, so again no problem. Like me he works on the basis that if “you don’t ask, you don’t get”.
You might wonder why I’m so willing to lend a hand. Frankly, I admire his determination. He organises everything himself and, if I said “no”, I’m quite sure he’d be setting off from home in the dark to get to Antibes on time. He’s deadly serious and is even working much harder at his studies at school because I’ve told him that he needs a Plan B. He also needs to work on his language skills to broaden his choice of professional team. An incentive to work even harder at his English, not that he needs much of an excuse. He’s one of my English pupils and has made really good progress.
You might be asking what do I get out of this. Nothing, I just enjoy watching his progression. While he’s young enough to be my grandson, I don’t regard him in that ilk and he, thankfully, doesn’t see me as a substitute grandmother; more an aunt. Moreover, an aunt who’s on his side, in whom he can confide and with whom he can do fun things.
Saturday evening after dinner, we’ll get everything ready for a speedy departure on Sunday morning, including having a chat about this weeks’ Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. In addition, I want to hear all about his win. I’ve read about it, but it’s not the same as hearing it first-hand. We’ll also have a brief chat about his forthcoming race, his role and tactics. I’ve already told him that his Mother should get all of his bouquets and he can dedicate his first professional win to me. Until then I’m more than happy to help out whenever and however.