A mother’s love for cricket and the safe space it gives her disabled sons.

Date: 15 July 2021   Author: Energise Me

For Becky and her family, cricket has become so much more than just a sport. It’s a safe space where they can be themselves and feel supported.

Josh with a trophy after playing cricket with a disability

 

My husband and I have been together for 15 years. He has a 20-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and we have two sons together: Josh and Danny. Josh has autism, hypermobility, dyspraxia and Osgood Schlatters Disease. This causes him a lot of pain and difficulties. Danny has a clubbed foot, so is also counted as having a disability.

 

Starting cricket

Josh started playing cricket in the under 13’s and he’s never looked back. Danny used to be very active. He played football a lot. We went down to watch Josh play cricket one day and Danny and I started to play catch. The coach said to me Danny needs to come and play for us, spotting talent in him. I asked Danny and he said he’d try it. He gave up football entirely to play cricket instead.

They both started out playing for Gosport Borough Cricket Club but back in 2018 the chairmen at the club mentioned to us that there was a fantastic opportunity for disabled kids that could be good for Josh.

We didn’t think Danny would qualify to play as he doesn’t have any consults for his foot, just physio but he did. So we contacted the person running the session and went to Porchester the following week to give it a try. The boys loved it!

At Super Ones, his confidence has skyrocketed. It’s shot through the roof. He’s not a very social person, but when it comes to cricket he’s a completely different kid. He’s grown in himself and become even more amazing than he already was.  

Super One’s safe space

We now go to Super Ones every week. The boys love going. For Josh, it’s a real safe space. He only has two safe spaces, home and at cricket. He can be himself at Super Ones. If things are getting bad or too much he knows he is safe to take himself away somewhere and just sit for 5 minutes. He is free to be who he is and not pretend who he’s not. 

At school, he will mask his feelings and doesn’t let on how he really is. If he saw his friends from school outside of school, he wouldn’t interact with them because they are school friends they are not outside friends.  

But at Super Ones, his confidence has skyrocketed. It’s shot through the roof. He’s not a very social person, but when it comes to cricket he’s a completely different kid. He’s grown in himself and become even more amazing than he already was.  

I love seeing the smile on his face and how he helps the younger children. He really takes his time with them to explain things or show them how to hold their bat properly. I am just so proud of him. He is just amazing really.  

Super Ones even hold little tournaments/festivals. We had one a few weeks ago and both boys were scouted for the D40’s academy squad. So now they both play for Hampshire on those teams too. 

 

A Family affair

Cricket isn’t just a safe space for the boys. It’s nice for me to have other parents to talk to. If something has gone wrong or the kids have had a bad day, we can give each other advice and support.

If your child is cross or has a meltdown you don’t have to justify it. Everybody understands. If you were anywhere else you’d get looks from people who don’t understand. I don’t take Josh to the shops anymore as the lights and sounds were too much sensory stuff going on for him. But at cricket, nobody judges anybody. Everybody is the same.

I didn’t use to be interested in cricket. I’d never watched a match until I met my husband. Now we spend most days of the week at cricket. My husband used to play when he was younger and has recently started making a comeback. On Saturday the two boys and their dad all played in their first adult match together. It was really nice. It’s a real family affair.

They feel safe with their friends at cricket. They all encourage each other.

A cricket community

It’s great for the kids to interact with other kids like them. They feel safe with their friends at cricket. They all encourage each other. If someone doesn’t do well, it doesn’t matter. The other kids will all be saying “don’t worry, try again”. It’s a really lovely community. 

They only see each other once a week for an hour and a half but they are still willing to encourage and support each other. I am hoping they can build on that and become good friends beyond the club too.  

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