The boys and I watched the impressive Opening ceremony of the Olympics along with 22.4 million other people in the UK, once the olympics started we were hooked. The olympics was constantly on our television, from equestrian to shooting to the athletics we was glued to it. We was lucky enough to get tickets to the Olympics Park to watch the Women’s semi Final in Diving and we also had a day out at Hyde Park to watch the mens triathlon where the boys and I watched the Team GB win Victoriously with a Gold and Bronze medal from the amazing Brownlee brothers. The atmosphere was electric and we was gripped to the Olympic fever so when the Olympics was over we sadly felt like we had lost something, something that had been a big part of our lives for two weeks had stopped, we had even abandoned Eastenders for the Olympics which was a big thing for us as we are huge fans of the drama. All is not lost though as NOW we have the Paralympics to look forward to, I have been lucky enough to purchase tickets to watch the athletics in the Olympic Park which everyone is really looking forward to and again i believe we will be transfixed to the TV even more so than before with the Olympics as these athletes that are competing against other countries make me feel even more proud to be british, they have overcome a disability and become strong and they have shown us that having a disability needn’t set you back from what you want to achieve, they also show us hope and ambition. These physical disabilities include mobility disability, amputations, blindness and cerebral palsy. With only 6 days to go until the opening ceremony Jak my eldest boy was invited along by Sainsbury’s and Mumsnet to attend a very special event of Blind Football to celebrate the 1 million kids challenge. The session was run by Gary Knight who is the FA’s Blind Football Coach who works with the Paralympics GB Football Squad and The England Blind Football team. Gary along with another FA coach Jon Whittingham taught 11 children the skills required to play Blind Football, a high level of concentration is needed and silence is critical as the players need to hear their team mates and the football which contains ball bearing so it rattles when it is in play. A lot more dribbling and close control of the ball is needed so the player knows where the ball is when in play with it.
The session started with an introductory to Gary and Jon and the children were explained about what was going to happen and what they were going to do, they was all led out on to the 5 a side pitch 5 at a time with their blind folds on, all in line and touching the right shoulder of the person in front of them with their right hand.
They were then all shown some orienting, familiarising with their surroundings and determining their bearings. They started at one side of the room and asked to walk to the other side counting their steps as they went and then they were told just to walk half way and stop when they believed they were there. All of the children did so well and got to the other side and the middle roughly at the right spot. Parents were then asked to volunteer in rolling the ball the children so they could stop it with their feet and then pass it back to us, i made sure i spoke to the two children i had at all times so they knew where i was and i explained what i was doing every time i rolled the ball to them. As there were other balls in play they couldn’t just rely on listening to the ball b earing in it as they were getting confused with the other balls so me speaking to them too was important. In a match of Blind Football players call out “yeah” and their names to make teammates aware of their presence and the rules stipulate that players must call out “voy!” – meaning “I’m here” – as they approach to tackle, It’s all about relying on your hearing and knowing your team mates.
After a short break all the children participated in a penalty shoot out for a chance to win a signed football shirt by David Beckham, It was nail-biting stuff and the competition was tough, the children did remarkably well and it was surprisingly impressive to see how the children had got used to moving around while blindfolded so quickly, eventually it was down to two children and Gary made it slightly more complicated than just kicking the ball. The two boys left had to start at one side of the pitch walk forward with the ball until they reached Gary then they had to walk around him 360 degrees and then shoot at the goal, I couldn’t watch as Jak was one of the boys but i was shocked to hear everyone clap, i opened my eyes to see the ball at the back of net, WOW i was very impressed and proud of him. Jak had won the brilliant prize and as a huge fan of football and David Beckham, he was ecstatic, it is going to take months for that smile to disappear from his little face.
The event was even filmed by ITV’s London Tonight, if you would like to watch the clip you will find it here http://www.itv.com/news/london/2012-08-20/countdown-to-the-paralympics/
It was an amazing day and what an experience for Jak to be involved in something so special especially taking part in a Paralympic sport days before the Paralympics start. It is going to be a day that he will never forget, he has learnt that no matter what your ability is you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it, he has learnt of equality and respect. Jak was inspired by the Olympics but after participating in this session he is even more determined to achieve his best with dedication and determination. Sainsburys launched The Million Kids Challenge last year encouraging children and schools to participate in a paralympic sport, to help children realise their sports potential and to inspire a new generation.
Thank you to Sainsburys and to Mumsnet bloggers network for inviting us along to such an amazing and inspirational event.
“I am a member of the mumsnet bloggers network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”
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