Guest Post From John Clarke
Updated: Dec 11, 2018
Hello. My name is John Clarke and I suffer with Cerebral Palsy. From an early age I became acutely aware of my physical limitations. I would sit longingly watching my brothers play football, wishing my inanimate legs would magically spring into life.
Growing up, my parents tried to teach me the philosophy of transcending my disability. Over time I began to realise I could achieve anything, albeit not in the conventional way. I have always believed that as a disabled person, I have a duty to be a catalyst for integration. How can I expect to be accepted by society if my imperfections become my identity? Yes, they are an integral part of my life but they don’t define the person I aspire to be.
I have always loved football and I am an avid Burton Albion supporter, for my sins! I count myself extremely lucky to have witnessed my little club’s rise through the divisions. Nothing quite compares to the sweet smell of a freshly manicured football pitch, add an adrenaline inducing goal and the effect is utterly intoxicating.
Three months ago, I decided to take the plunge and try Powerchair Football. Initially, I was very nervous and completely overwhelmed. Thankfully my reluctance was totally unfounded. St George’s Knights is an extraordinarily humble club, run entirely by volunteers. Playing for them has shown me the beauty of humanity and I am honoured to be involved with them. I was welcomed with open arms, my disability dissolved in an instant and I was part of the majority. I am now a happy member of this wonderful family. Words cannot describe the tremendously liberating feeling of running up a pitch, free from the constraints of my Cerebral Palsy, even just for a moment.
Thank you for reading,
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