Birthdays, balloons and breaks ... the Jamie Proctor Column

Me, my missus, Rebecca, and our daughter, EleanorMe, my missus, Rebecca, and our daughter, Eleanor
Me, my missus, Rebecca, and our daughter, Eleanor
WE'VE just had our final international break of the season and once again there was plenty of Rotherham United involvement with the national teams.

Firstly, it is great testament to the lads and, secondly, fantastic recognition for our club.

Semi Ajayi was called up for Nigeria, Marek Rodak for Slovakia and there was a first Wales call-up for Will Vaulks.

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Will has been outstanding for us all season and this is a reward for the performances he has been putting in on a consistent basis.

It was also great to see how a long throw can even get used at national level, despite it seemingly upsetting a few managers this season! Welsh boss Ryan Giggs knows just as much as we do that it's a weapon.

Much is talked about whether international breaks help or hinder a team and if the timing of them can cause disruption to momentum.

For some of the teams in the division who have large squads or are on a great run of form, it may be a hindrance to them.

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For teams with a relatively small squad, such as ourselves, it can come at a perfect time to get some of the injured players back fit and in contention.

As it stands this time around, we have an almost empty treatment room but it's a welcome chance for the squad to rest up and be at their best for the remaining games.

Personally, I have enjoyed the international breaks and have taken the chance to spend time with my family and do various things that aren't normally possible during the season.

This time around, a few of the lads have been abroad, whereas others have gone back home to see families.

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As I'm now at an important stage of my rehab after hip surgery, I've been at the training ground for some of the break to keep progressing with my treatment.

This week also saw Ryan Williams become a father for the first time, so huge congratulations to him, his fiancée, Katie, and their baby boy, Ziggy.

Without doubt, the birth of my little girl, Eleanor, last season was the best moment of my life.

The mix of overwhelming joy, pride and relief is a feeling I have never experienced during any other situation in life.

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Since the age of seven, football has been my life, but having a child suddenly gave me an added purpose and extra motivation to succeed. Every time I now kick a ball (at the minute not often enough) it is for her and always will be until the day I hang up my boots.

Eleanor has had a hold on me since the day she was born. She was actually born on my birthday. How about that for timing!

Last weekend, we had a joint birthday party and that gave me a little insight into what the future holds: plenty of 'little-girl' balloons and not so many for me. I think the 'joint' aspect was overlooked.

I wouldn't have it any other way. What a special birthday present she has been. I'm sure that was the beginning of the end of my sociable birthdays!

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Becoming a dad during the football season does come with its challenges due to the obvious lack of time off and all the time spent away from the family.

There is no paternity leave as such, just a day or so at the manager's discretion.

However, I must say that, due to the nature of my knee injury last season and me facing such a long spell out, the gaffer gave me a lot more time off than normal circumstances would have allowed. There are always positives to take from negative situations.

With the new arrival and your partner at home, the key now is to find a new balance of work and family life, especially in the early days. That's something that awaits Willo in the coming weeks.

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The rewards that come with parenthood though are immense. For my little girl to be on the pitch with me at the final home game of last season and to be at Wembley to see us get promoted are great memories for me to have.

Hopefully there will be plenty more of these memories to come.

Until next time.