footy weekends -Kyoto & Brighton-


Kicking down fences
The road to blind football by Footy Weekends

ブラインドサッカーへの道 〜Footy Weekendsの取り組み

“It’s OK, I guess. I mean, not that it’s a problem. There’s just rather a lot of their fans in here today.”
It was absolutely pouring down with rain, wind howling outside the club house. Their fans, in their very noticeable red shirts, were shivering, hugging paper cups of tea, standing here and there among the 90% majority of blue shirts. Of course, it is OK for anyone to go into the club house, especially when escaping the brute force of the January weather, but there is definitely a slightly uncomfortable feeling when you see the shirt of your rival, in your club house. These fenced-off communities, us and them, it’s just part of football culture and being a fan of your team.


Being a football fan though, has undoubtedly helped most people with the sometimes awkward task of joining a community. There have been numerous times no doubt, when finding a fellow football fan, be it a pub league player, someone who enjoys a kick-about in the park, or a sympathetic family member of a hardcore fan, has helped you to settle in somewhere. The open gym at sixth-form college was a cold and foreboding place, where you couldn’t tell who was hanging out in there until you walked right up close to the entrance, and then it was too late to back away as everyone had seen you. Another potential moment for awkwardness after entering a school where no one from your old school was there to for a chat at lunch time. But turning the corner, and finding that people are banging a football about, a wave of reassurance spreads through you, knowing you’ve found somewhere to go outside of class time. A familiar feeling be it you’ve just moved to a new school, a new workplace or even a new country. Football has something about it that gives you easy access to a community, even if there are a few fences and rivalries within it.


These invisible fences and groups exist within a lot of communities around us, often ones that we’re totally unaware of because they aren’t represented by the colour of a shirt. Fences that keep people locked out of communities they should feel a part of and have every right to. When you are diagnosed with a disability, you’re informed of all the things you can’t do, and all the many things that “you won’t be able to do”. But to be dealing with this and then be told (albeit very politely) that you aren’t allowed to go somewhere, do something, join a community, is a concept that is surely hard to conceive. Embracing the changes you face when you lose your sight, choosing not to give up, choosing to get a guide dog to keep your independence, is a brave step forward. So being told by certain eating establishments, tourist venues, work places and other community hubs, that you are basically not allowed to enter, due to having a guide dog, is unfathomable. Being isolated from your community for deciding to have a guide dog. This is in no way OK. Or for that matter known by a lot of the other members of the community.


So, in a bid to reduce this isolation and knock-down these barriers, what better than using football - the community maker. What better, than a culture that is based on ‘community’, from local team level, right up to the vast number of people all over the world, who simply ‘like’ football over other sports.
‘The road to blind football’ by Footy Weekends begins.

Footy weekendsは、ブラインドサッカー大会実現に向けて取り組み始めました。

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