A student’s account of patriotism and prowess at the Paralympics
Here is a piece I wrote for my University on my day at the Paralympics! If you haven’t already seen it here is my post on the Paralympics, here. This is on my uni intranet 🙂
Many of you would have gone to the Olympics and Paralympics this summer. It may have been the highlight of your summer. To get the conversation started, because it is an inevitable start-of-term topic of gossip, journalism student Roxanne Hoare-Smith has told us about her experience of Paralympic football.
I arrived at Stratford International in a bit of a panic on Monday 3 September on my way to the seven-a-side football having realised the tickets for our group, which I was looking after, had fallen out of my bag on the train. But at the box office, which had no queue, in only a matter of seconds after showing my ID my tickets were reprinted. I was so relieved!
It took almost 30 minutes to walk from the Olympic Park entrance to the Riverbank Arena where the football was happening. The park was crowd with patriotism. People were wearing union jack onesies, despite the hot weather, and morph suits. Even my dad put on his union jack brothel creepers. Busy searching for our seats, we missed Iran’s first three goals against Argentina.
The players all had cerebral palsy yet played so magnificently. It was like any other high-level football match except for a few different rules which means in these games, it isn’t unusual for the scored-line to be high.
Each time a goal was scored music filled the arena. Entertainment during the breaks included a ‘pose cam’ and ‘playing the bongos’ on the big screen. The atmosphere was brilliant, the crowd cheering equally loudly for all teams. The football games are an hour long with 30 minutes halves and a 15-minute break. Our £15 ticket included two games, an Olympic Park day pass and a day travelcard for zones 1-9, which sadly we didn’t get to take advantage of. Iran won 8-1.
Next up was Russia versus the Netherlands. This time we sat on the opposite side of the arena where the players entered the pitch. Russia owned the ball for most of the game but it made the game exciting whenever the Dutch managed to steal the ball for a second. It was Joey, one of the Dutch players’, birthday so we all sang to him. Russia won 8-0.
On leaving the arena we saw a huge crowd cheering as they watched the swimming live on the outdoor screens in the Olympic park. We stopped off for dinner at Westfield after a long day in the sun and, looking around, were excited to see we were accompanied by a few British and Italian Paralympians.