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Powerchair Football

I have just come in from an absolutely awesome afternoon. Two or three nights ago, I saw an article on the local tv news about a powerchair football team training in Woolwich. It pricked my interest. I had never heard of the sport before, but it looked like great fun. The players looked about my age or slightly younger, so at first the thought occurred to me to go try out. But then the filmmaker in me kicked in - making a film about them, perhaps on the same lines as my Thousand Londoners film, would be much more up my street.

I got on to Google, found the team's contact information, and emailed the woman in charge. She promptly replied, and we got into an email exchange. She seemed quite keen on my idea, and invited me down to their Saturday afternoon training session.

I felt fairly apprehensive as I made my way to Woolwich earlier. I'd contacted the guys at Chocolate Films, who told me they had their hands full until well into the new year, so I was not sure what, if anything, could come of this trip. Yet I thought it worth going anyway, just to get the ball rolling. Besides, I was curious - what I'd seen on that news report had looked like fun. Mind you, as I drew near to the waterfront leisure centre this afternoon, I still thought that actually participating in the training would be totally out of the question: I still had in my mind dad's rather alarmed reaction when I told him of my plans via skype; he knows how I treat my powerchairs, and how quickly I get through them. To be honest, I had to agree.

We need not have worried. When I got to the leisure centre, I met Sharon, the woman I had been emailing. She escorted me to a sports hall, where two or three lads were already knocking large balls about with their powerchairs. I made my way to the edge, trying to start to think about possible shooting strategies.

It was then that Sharon asked me if I wanted to join in. I explained that I didn't want to damage my chair.

''Don't be silly,'' she replied. ''We use special chairs. Can you transfer?'' And so it was that, a short while later, I was in a highly powerful, highly manoeuvrable electric wheelchair with a special guard over the footrest, perfect for knocking the large balls around. All thoughts of film making flew from my brain as I fell instantly in love. There was so much power in that chair; I could feel it at my fingertips. Here was another skill to master, another sport to get into. I was going to enjoy this.

I spent the next hour or so getting to know the sport. Everyone there was very welcoming and friendly. Rather than take it too seriously, as I remember the football training sessions I watched back at university were, this was mostly about fun. They started me on simple driving skills, before seeing how well I could control the ball. This proved far harder than it looked, and it took me a while to get the knack of it; but by the end of the session, I think I had made some progress.

I left wanting more. I had had a great deal of fun: adrenaline had kicked in, and I felt the urge to master a new skill. Perhaps more importantly though, I feel I made a few more friends this afternoon. Thus this is something I can see myself getting into. I have not forgotten about my initial idea though - I still have every intention of making a film about this sport, and think it could be great. It's just that, filmmaking often being a slow, painstaking process, it seems I now have something to keep me occupied in the interim.

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