Sport Without Seeing

Disability sport has been a huge part of my life, ever since March of 2012 when I somewhat unexpectedly joined the Newcastle United Football Club for visually impaired kids and more recently, starting training for Athletics in February 2017. In this article, I want to explain why clubs like this are unbelievably valuable to the disabled community. So, let’s just get started.

Firstly, a bit of background. You have to remember when talking about disability sport that the kids who participate in these clubs can’t just go out and play on the street with their “Friends.” Especially if they go to a mainstream school like me, most of their friends will be sighted anyway, so blind football is out of the question. And it’s not like they can stay in and play on their Xbox or PlayStation either because most of them can’t see what they’re doing.

Blind sport isn't just limited to football, there's running, cricket, archery, swimming, the list goes on.

Blind sport isn’t just limited to football, there’s running, cricket, archery, swimming, the list goes on.

Of course, this varies from child to child, but what I’m trying to get at is that life for a blind child is nowhere near what life is like for a sighted child. And that’s exactly why any sports clubs for these people are absolutely amazing because it gets them out there. I, for one, now had something to do in the week, something to look forward to every Wednesday. Beyond this, however, a community is formed. I hadn’t met very many blind people at all before I started football, but when I did, I finally had somebody who understood me more than anybody else, who went through the same ordeals, the same life process as me. Can you imagine how vital that was?

And even the parents have a friendship circle now, which not only means I get to see some of my friends outside of football but they do need those friendships as well.

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Image from the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Something I’ve not talked about yet, and yet something that’s most obvious is the fun factor I get from Wednesday’s sessions. I absolutely love them and have really started to understand and love football, compared to when I started and didn’t even know what the rules of football were.

And that’s the jist of it. I really hope that people take these things into account and create more clubs like Newcastle did, but until next time, thanks for reading.

Written by Michael Buchan