imagine niall when he’s a dad in his mid thirties, teaching his little 5 year old son how to play football. and he’d put him on a little league team or something and drive him to practice every week, standing to the side of the field and cheering like the embarrassing dad he is. and whenever he had free time with his son, he’d be teaching him tips so that he could be the best player on the team. and when your son’s team had a game coming up, you’d hear niall giving him little pep talks, telling him winning isn’t everything but it is a lot. and you’d roll your eyes and give niall a look and he’d quickly add ‘but daddy will be proud of ya even if ya don’t win,’ followed with a wink. and when the day of the match finally came, he’d be more nervous about it than your son was. he’d take him into the backyard and run over a few more tips and tricks before heading to the game, making sure he’d taught his son everything. when he was fairly confident your son could win the game alone, he’d pack the whole family into the van, not forgetting to bring lots of snacks. and when you got to the game, your son would excitedly run to join his friends in the field. and niall would sit in the van for a bit just watching, and you could tell he was rlly nervous about it.
'it's not the world cup ya know, niall? they're only 5 year olds,' you'd remind him.
you’d almost laugh at the look on his face when he heard that. ‘ya don’t understand. yer not a footballer like us.’ he was still being completely serious. and then he’d start explaining how this was his first game, and something about being the start of a career. you’d just shake your head and go to find a spot on the bleachers.
before the game starts, niall would give his son one last pep talk, patting him on the back and ruffling his hair before sending him out to join the rest of the team. and during the game, niall would be cheering the loudest, standing up in the bleachers nearly the entire time. and he’d probs get all upset if the other team got a point that he didn’t think they earned, and he’d start cursing and complaining to the referee, insisting that his son’s team had actually earned the point. and you’d finally pull him back and make him sit down beside you and tell him it’ll be ok.
'dey didn't earn dat point..' he'd grumble, cursing the referee under his breath and crossing his arms. you'd laugh and smack his arm, and he'd just grumble some more. 'im serious about dis, if dey win the game coz of that, i'll…'
and before the game was over, your son would score a goal, which would put niall back in his normal good mood, and he’d start explaining to you how he had taught his son that move. and he’d be so proud of your kid that even when his team lost by 3 points, he wouldn’t be the least bit upset. he’d keep congratulating him on scoring and take a pic with the entire team (all of the kids loved him ofc). and when his son whined that his team lost, niall would remind him that winning isn’t everything, afterall.