I could give you the "back in the day" or " you think you have it tough" lecture but reality is that while some aspects change, being a Parent can have its tough moments.
Back in 1964, playing Under 13, which was the youngest organised competitions in Melbourne then, we played Saturday mornings at 8:00 am. In my working class suburb, few Fathers got to watch as they were working and Mothers were even rarer. The ground was a cow paddock all week, so before dawn to the light of car headlights, some Fathers and us kids removed cow manure in bags ( land owner sold it) grass was cut with a few old Victas and oval was marked out, sometimes around the most sloppy cow dung patches. No changing rooms and it was very cold and wet in the middle of winter. Away games meant a ride in Mr Daggs removalist van to mostly better grounds and at least the back of the truck to change into your old boots with nailed in stops ! It was great ! We scored, had a ladder and finals, and won a flag or two, and sang a song which I do not remember.
Then in 1990, my eldest son started with under 9, in the leafy suburb of Eltham. Games were on Sunday afternoon, ground was all well prepared by local Council and there were real changing rooms with hot water, not that kids ever wanted to wash off the mud. Many more Parents attended, they kept score and we had finals etc. It seemed to me that all the kids did was chase the ball, roll in the mud, but have fun. Younger son started playing basketball, so if it clashed the Mother did this duty, and our eldest child, a daughter showed no interest in sport which was a relief.
Move to today ! My Oldest Grandson is now 8, lives in Brunswick, plays again in Under 9 on a Sunday, usually on a lovely Ground in Princes Park or near the Zoo, no mud ! Very organised, all kids are coached and taught skills, and number 13, my grandkids who displays his part indigenous heritage, kicks with both feet, goals from any angle and can pin point a pass 40 meters. They do not score, have no ladder, no winners or losers, not sure if they have fun and frankly while an under 9 team today would heavily defeat the one in 1990, no-one would know and somehow it makes it a little pointless.
So in ten years time, when he is ready for AFL, not sure he will care, though he does love the Bombers.