Saturday, 8 February 2014


You can’t win if you fight a disability head on.

It’s like being in a scrum with a front row that’s bigger, heavier, and uglier than yours, and that isn’t afraid to play dirty.

It can be a war of attrition (as rugby commentators love to say). Sometimes, you need to be a bit sneaky. Turn yourself into a scheming little scrum half, nipping at their heels, stealing in for an interception. And sometimes a running move just happens, when your team breaks through their defence thanks to a lucky pass, and all you have to do is stand back and marvel at it.

I’m all over this rugby analogy for two reasons. Firstly, it’s the Six Nations, which I always enjoy. Secondly, rugby was behind a Momentous Happening yesterday.

Anyone with kids will probably have experienced their incredible dedication to the witholding of information about their schoolday.

“Did you have a good day? What did you do?” is a question that even a Guantanamo Bay interrogator who the Chairman of the Waterboarding Committee thinks is a little too heavy-handed couldn't get an answer to.

Yesterday, I asked my daughter for a daily update, expecting the usual non-committal grunt, or the classic: “Don’t know,” which runs a close second to “Nothing much.”

Instead, I got this: 

“We had a man come from the rugby club. He was called Martin, and he gave us a rugby ball and a pen and a wristband, and I asked him if he knew Uncle Mark, and I told him Uncle Mark’s surname and he said he did know him and he’d be seeing him tomorrow and he would say hello and say he’d seen me at school, and we played some rugby and I had to catch it and throw it and run round, and he said I was a fast runner, but I don’t do running, so I was a fast walker, and he said that if I didn’t want to play rugby then I could take my little brother along if he wanted to go, so can we take him Mum, and I loved it and it was good and he showed me a picture of Uncle Mark and the other rugby men dressed up as Father Christmas, but I knew it was Uncle Mark and they weren’t the real Father Christmases because there were so many of them and they dress up every Christmas and collect money for little children who are poorly, and I had fun and I love my rugby ball, it’s squidgy.”

I couldn’t have been more surprised at the torrent of detailed information than if she’d picked me up and spear-tackled me. Why the visit from Martin the rugby man appealed to her so much, I’ll never fathom. And on another week, on another day, it might not have inspired such enthusiasm. With Prader-Willi Syndrome, you can never predict when the person will be thrown a perfect pass and be able to get over that try-line, smiling as they place the ball between the posts.

I had to go for the conversion, though, didn’t I? I asked my boy the same question. “What did you do at school today?” He gave me an nonchalent stare. “Nuffink.”

Video is The Streets - Let's Push Things Forward

1 comment:

  1. Here's the song you need for times like that