I Am An Addict
No one could have envisaged the true nature of these Paralympic Games, the world stage they have taken in a matter of days, taking disability in sports from the murky shadows, where few wanted to watch, propelling them into the media glare at the speed of light, taking with them the many stars that now shine so bright regardless of medals. No longer the poor dumb country cousin of the Olympics, which has now been relegated to just “a really good event”, now outshined and out viewed by the world capturing Paralympics.
Yes the Paralympics has kicked sand in the face of their able-bodied counterparts, the people that were already criticising Channel 4 for too much coverage, as this grandstand upped the bar of pure wonderful spectacle and total engagement, and we as viewers, as voyeur participants in every elements of these Games, were just thankful we were playing a minor part in this historic moment in disability passed sports. Every viewer, everyone that bought the millions of tickets to the Paralympics have themselves helped in a small way make this a historic event full of drama, battles, highs to the stars and lows below ground level, and even a thrill a minute as world record after world record destroyed.
No longer will disability sports be supported by, which I like to call, the patronising brigade, the “Arr look at those poor disabled people try to play throw a ball, so sweet”, the same people that would complain about the BBC spending valuable EastEnders’ time on international disability GB matches, but cover most ‘able’ GB international matches, football, cricket, tennis, etc. The same people whose voices are full of condescension and false sympathy, which are only surpassed by their look of pity, “Such a shame these people can’t walk, let’s make a donation”, the same people that thought it was right to keep disabled people all their lives in huge asylum like institutions, as this was so generous of the State to house and care for “THEM”, like we had an infectious disease.
But in these historic Paralympics I was privileged to watch that absolute Angel Ellie Simmonds win her second gold of the games, she beamed with pure happiness – rightly so. I shall remember the 3rd of September for so many reasons, at this was the day a year ago I was rushed into hospital with the Grim Reaper in hot pursuit. But now I have a counter balance to the event, that a year later I saw Natasha Baker & Ellie Simmonds win gold and felt their pride and happiness, I felt that I was part of their achievement because I was fortunate to see, to participate by voyeuristic behaviour, in their moment.
It goes much further than this, I was fleetingly, but it was definitely there, jealous that I had never applied myself and achieved what they, and so many other medallists at these ground breaking games, had achieved, for the first time in my adult life I was an underachiever. Part of me felt that it was ok to be the underachiever for once, actually this was almost the price of viewer admission not to be at their standard, part of me felt jealous of them, yes jealous, and part of me felt a millionth, a molecule, a nanobyte of the pride they were beaming across the world media networks as the golden medal was placed round their necks, and our flag raised high as God Save The Queen was played (I preferred the beat of the Sex Pistol’s version, but not the words, if I am perfectly honest, but there I go giving my age away).
I think Channel 4 is so much to blame for this mass hysteria of addictive viewing, they have showcased the action, engaged with and presented by previous Paralympians, and given these superheroes of many nations a platform on which to gather the masses to them. I have not always been complimentary of Channel 4 but they should be given State accolade for their achievement. For me the real achievement, and I hesitate to say this but it is true, that when I watch the various events, for those moments in time I am proud to be disabled, proud to have these people in our peer group, almost understanding for the first time what some mean when they say if they had the chance they would not choose to undo what they were born with or have happen to them re their disability.
Until now I thought people who would hold onto their disability were, to say the least, more than a little dotty, but now I just about get it, as when I watch these Paralympians, getting my main channel fix of this Channel 4 supplied drug, I do start to get it, as I am not just proud of the participants, I am a little jealous too. Nice to feel sense of pity for abled bodied people (lol) who don’t really get just what it has taken for these heroes to overcome both their disability but also outshine the Olympics.
May I always be addicted in this way!