At school I had my self-esteem dented, along with countless others, by being less than average at a number of sports. Even though most teachers would try to offer encouragement by reminding us that it was the 'taking part' that mattered, the more influential voices were of course other kids.

The number of times during cricket practice I heard the phrase 'you are a waste of space Molineaux'.

Fortunately, I was six foot tall and 12 stone as I entered the first year of high school and therefore rugby became my saving grace. I managed to use my size to my advantage until all the other boys caught up with my growing pattern during our fourth year.

I am glad to say that since leaving education no one has ever accused me of being a waste of space; not to my face anyway.

All of this was brought back to mind when my youngest daughter made a comment about my inability to produce sentences that they can understand whilst texting on my mobile phone.

It was during this conversation about all things communicative that daughter number four said that I was 'a waste of credit'. She insisted that she wasn’t commenting on my worth as a father or indeed a human being; just a reflection about my lack of ability with phone technology.

Needless to say the comment brought back all those years of shame; scoring an own goal at football, running out the star player during a cricket match, tripping up just before the tape in the 400 meters, nearly taking someone’s eye out in a game of squash (I will expand on this further at a later date). Not an all together impressive record. If it wasn’t for the rugby I would have no trophies at all.

As things go being a waste of credit does not seem to be too bad a deal after all there are far harsher ways of judging people. She could have told me that I was a waste of chocolate because I tend to eat far too quickly to really enjoy the taste. Or perhaps a waste of movies owing to my inability to sit through a film without complaining about how loud the music is compared to the dialogue (am I the only one to notice). Maybe she could have accused me of being a waste of music because I tend to dance like a slightly disappointed gorilla.

At school being a waste of space at sport was guaranteed to convey the complete frustration one lad would have with a team member. But it was one comment in particular that provoked the keenest reaction in me. Just before a match I overheard a teacher comment on my abilities on the rugby field. I had hoped that since the previous season I had captained the side to the schools first ever trophy that I was about to over hear some praise. Unfortunately, the comment went along the lines of ‘Molineaux! He is just big, that’s all. He doesn’t even use his strength well.’

I went out onto the field determined to prove him wrong and subsequently got sent off for hitting one of the opposition for standing near me or looking stupid or some other minor offence. Proving that I did know how to use my strength but perhaps not my mind.

As I walked to the touch line I could hear one of my fellow team members reminding me that even in rugby I could occasionally be ‘a waste of space’.

On my way towards the changing rooms I attempted to take one of the pieces of citrus fruit customarily given at half time. ‘Leave it Molineaux’ said our sports teacher ‘You are a waste of orange too’. Not meaning to mention mobile phone network providers, I wonder if he was predicting that I would one day be a ‘waste of credit’.