By Jack Tomlin
I recently joined Winchester Goalball team. I have loved goalball since I was 11 and was a passionate member of my school team, but when I left school, I also left goalball.
I missed the sport and the friendships that came with it and this year, I knew I wanted to join a team. I got in touch with Winchester and decided to attend their next training session.
My excitement soon turned to apprehension when I realised that I would have to get the train by myself, with a change at a busy station. Like many VI people I find public transport difficult, so I asked a friend to come with me for extra support. I navigated the journey by myself, but it really helped having someone with me that first time.
The next weekend I wanted to try it myself. I booked my train and was on my way. I got to the station nice and early and got myself to the platform. I became very anxious and thought about going home, but knew I’d regret it if I did.
When my train arrived, I followed the beeping noise to find the doors and, after letting my eyes adjust, found my way to a seat.
When I arrived at Southampton station, the platform was packed. I couldn’t see the stairs and was struggling to find my way in the hustle and bustle, I waited at the side and hoped that it would quieten down. Eventually I found my way across to the other platform and tried to relax, there was no going home now.
The second train arrived promptly and I boarded with ease, opting to stand since it was only 15 minutes to Winchester.
I was utterly lost when I arrived at Winchester station, luckily I managed to follow other passengers to the exit and happened upon some other players waiting to be collected by one of the lovely volunteers.
To some this journey may seem inconsequential, but for me it was huge. I have been told over the years that I can’t or shouldn’t do things because of my visual impairment and I have often let that negativity dictate my plans and decisions. This was the first time I’d been on a train journey alone and my determination made it possible for me to play that weekend.
It is easy to let nerves get in the way but it is important to push ourselves.
What is something you’ve been afraid of doing?
Don’t put limits on yourself, you can do it!