Recently we had the pleasure of delivering a Team Insight Goalball session at the Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre. We were invited along to be part of the charity’s ‘Project Gemini’ where they had invited visually impaired veterans from America and South Africa to come over to the UK and participate in all sorts of events and activities with their British counterparts.
We were very excited to introduce the veterans to Goalball (and for a few, it was a reintroduction), not only because it is a fantastic sport, but also because Goalball was originally created in 1946 to help in the rehabilitation of blinded World War II veterans, so it felt very special to us to be effectively ‘taking it back to its roots’.
The event kicked off with a few team activities to get the veterans used to their shades and used to working with their new teammates. Being ex-military, this came very naturally and the different teams were very quickly discussing tactics and getting rather competitive!
We discovered almost instantly, that you can take the person out of the military, but you can never take the military out of the person, as there was raucous banter between the teams from the get go and every challenge we put in front of them, they went in to whole heartedly. There was even a veteran who had hearing loss as well as sight loss, and he insisted that, despite not being able to hear the bells in the ball properly, he wanted to participate with his team and simply relied on his teammates to shout ‘DIVE’ whenever the ball was coming.
As soon as we began to play a round robin tournament of Goalball, it was clear that every team wanted to win, with shots getting faster and faster, and celebrations of goals getting bigger and bigger! It all ended up coming down to the last game as the two teams joint top on points faced each other and, after a rather tense game, it was won by one goal!
Claire Hall, Group Manager of Partnerships for Blind Veterans UK, said “It was great to have Team Insight organise a Goalball competition for Blind Veterans UK and some of its corporate supporters and beneficiaries. The experience really heightens your senses and tests your responses, co-ordination and communication. It helps you to appreciate some of the challenges that people living with sight loss must experience on a day to day basis. We had blind veterans from the US, South Africa and UK competing together with corporate supporters and it was a fantastic team building activity and a great participatory event for both sighted and visually impaired players.”
To find out more about Blind Veterans UK you can visit their website here.