Thing Two's soccer team had their end-of-year party tonight, immediately following the last tournament game of the fall season. (They came in second in their age group!!) It was held at a pub that has a large glass-walled interior room full of those loud, colorful, token-operated, ticket-dispensing games beloved by children everywhere, which I suspect had something to do with the choice of venue.
Fueled by pizza, the kids ran into the game room with their cups of tokens and emerged an hour or so later with fistfuls of tickets. Literally thousands of them, all told. Which, one fistful after another, and unprompted by any adult, they all proceeded to hand to their trainer for his two little kids. The big kids left the pub empty-handed, but the two tiny ones took home two or three big prizes each.
This trainer has a full time day job and trains them two nights a week on top of that. I'm sure his wife is tired with the two little ones and would much prefer that he be home more often than he is! But when he showed her the tickets and explained what happened, she told him that she understands why he coaches this group of boys. And then every adult in the room suddenly developed a case of the sniffles.