"Police engaging with youth projects is key to us all moving forward as a community....We felt honoured to be invited to 'challenge' the youth to a game....what is important is not who wins but instead it is that everyone enjoys themselves, that we all work together as a team and that those attending learn to apply themselves, learn skills, learn to work together as part of a team and most of all have fun!”"
Let the Games Making commence……
I didn’t expect to be sitting at a bus stop next to a kebab shop with 100 drunken youths at 3am as part of my Paralympic experience but this is where my Games making journey begins every day.
DANNY - THE GAMES MAKER!
Having gone through the aggravation of nearly having my jacket stolen by a drunken doorman and having several young ladies wanting to seduce me due to
my snazzy uniform, my daily routine sees me get on my 4th (that’s right 4th) Nightbus and I arrive at the stadium at 5:45am and its pitch black and a ghost town. All that’s there is the bright lights of the stadium and it looks like magic.
We have a daily briefing and wait for our allocated roles. This is basically the biggest lottery imaginable and the prizes at stake could be as glamorous as V.I.P support and making sure that the athletes family are catered for and could be as basic as scanning tickets or walking around with information. Luckily so far, all of my team members have been first class and the Games Maker process has been a very pleasant and surprisingly educational. I know all the disability categories now, several decent protocols around running events and I have learnt what it is truly like to volunteer.
I have been very fortunate so far with myself manning V.I.P, information and ticket scanning and all have allowed myself and the team the chance to mingle with the public and occasionally, see a bit of the action!
I was very fortunate to have met a few celebs and Tannie Grey-Thompson being so far the most famous and the whole buzz around the Paralympics has been there for all to see. I am just delighted that the Olympics and Paralympics signature events are normally the athletics and I have the privilege to be part of that.
Watching young and old people be inspired by what is happening before them has been awesome and I wanted to elaborate on the older generation than the younger. The younger people have been highlighted as inspiring a generation but the older generation I believe have been impacted as much as the younger generation. They are seeing things they never thought possible and you can by the hour see changes in attitude and respect to the athletes. It is wonderful to see the tears and cheers of everyone and a true good feeling has been had.
There have been many so many amazing stories about lost children being found, scanners breaking and great questions asked but I thought I would share you my highlight so far. A young lad and his family were asking about Oscar Pistorius and how he runs and was asking why he is in the Paralympics and the Olympics and why is he so good in one competition and not so in the other.
Through the training at the charity, we are regularly updated about disability information and some information around energy expenditure stuck with me. An amputee like Oscar Pistorius whose amputee is below the knee expends 30% more energy and above the knee goes as high as 50%. To put this in perspective, I got the whole family in a line for a race starting at different places so the new “Oscar” (or little Charlie) had a further distance to travel. He complained that his dad (Usain Bolt) had a head start and it was then that it clicked with him how special an athlete the guys at the Paralympic Games are.
It's great to be able to have the ability to make someones world make sense and for a brief time every morning, I get to help those unaccustomed to the world of disability and disability sport understand more about these great people who at the end of the day, are not superhumans, not people with disabilities, but just people like every single other person on the planet. I am sure you agree with those kind of messages being sent, my mornings are never wasted and never dull!