Oliver's debut football matchPublished Date: 09 Mar 2023
Oliver is a cheeky, happy eight-year-old who loves sports. He loves swimming and says it's good when he can’t hear anyone! Cycling – he loves to feel the air whizzing by as he goes so fast (with his helmet on, of course). Roller skating, skateboarding and scootering – he’s really good at keeping his balance. Best of all, he loves football. He can tell you all the players in his favourite team, Manchester City, and who played in the World Cup. And he loves playing football just as much.
Oliver plays at school during his breaks with his teacher, who has deaf awareness training and wears a radio aid so Oliver can hear even when he’s running around the playground. He keeps a football in the car so he can push it around with his feet – I’ve told him not to header it whilst I am driving! He plays in the garden, but when it’s raining or too muddy to play, we play on the drive, setting up goals with cones, shoes, jumpers, whatever we can find.
When it’s too wet outside, we blow up a balloon, and he plays football with the balloon. He can keep the balloon up in the air without touching the ground for ages. We timed five minutes before someone opened the door and the wind took it. Playing with a balloon saves the windows getting smashed, and I haven’t got any valuables, so no need to worry about the ornaments!
Oliver also goes to sports club with his sister Thea (7) during the school holidays. They have so much fun playing different kinds of sports to see which ones interest them.
Recently, Oliver joined the local under-nine’s football club. He attends once a week to practise, and on a Sunday morning they play local teams. Recently, due to the weather, a lot of matches have been cancelled, but he eventually got to play last Sunday.
Oliver was very excited as he was playing another team who six of his classmates play for. Oliver is the only one in his class to play for a different team, but that doesn't deter him. He spent the week practising his goal kicks outside between the showers. When it was raining, he practised with his balloon. We did pop a few, so had to keep replacing it. (Have the NDCS got any more balloons we can have please?)
It was a little cold and drizzly, but Oliver was ready to play. Oliver is very much a team player and set up two goals resulting in his side winning 5-0. He was so pleased. He could hear the others around him, but he said he concentrated on watching the ball and following the ball. It’s so good to be that focused. Although he was wearing his hearing aids, he didn’t have his radio aid with him, but that didn’t seem to deter him. He came home very muddy but very happy with the win.
Oliver’s football manager said after the match, “Extra well done to Oliver who finally got his debut. Was lively throughout and set up two of the goals.”
Being deaf doesn’t stop Oliver achieving anything he wants to do or be, but he has set the bar a bit high with a first win. Let’s hope Oliver and he’s team continue this run of winning!