I have recently noticed that with many of my interests that I am becoming less interested in specific situations and more frequently I am wondering about the system surrounding it. This probably explains why I enjoy maths.
Currently the paralympics are on and one thing that I am finding more interesting than who wins gold or what records are broken is how the games work. Some sports like running are simply a case of being in the paralympics because those with one or both legs amputated can’t compete in the same way as someone with both legs. But some sports need to have fundamentally different rules like wheelchair basketball, since both hands are needed for movement, there needs to be a time limit on how long you can travel with the ball before bouncing it.
A sport that I am trying to follow over the time is the blind football. This initially seems like a bit of a stupid game but they have all sorts of caveats to make the game vaguely competitive and a decent spectator sport. I managed to catch the second half of the men’s Morocco vs Iran game (finished 0-2) and it’s a brilliant game. They have 1.2m walls at the side of the pitch to stop the ball rolling out of play too often, the ball has a rattle in so the players have a rough idea of where to head. There are many other rules to make play possible and safe, as they don’t want there to be too many instances of players wiping out someone’s legs.
The outcome of the game was rather trivial as I have no connections to either country, but I was absolutely fascinated in how they had tweaked my favourite sport to make it accessible for blind players. I’ll admit that some of the miskicks were hilarious, but I’d struggle to do better and I have no visual impairment. The game is a lot more exciting as balls are practically required to be played along the ground, you never get defenders just passing it between them then lobbing it up to their speedy striker, as their striker would be totally guessing where the ball goes.
I hope that all 2 of you potentially reading this go and watch some of the paralympic sports and instead of just cheering on your country look at how they have tweaked the rules to make the sport interesting and accessible for whatever the disability of the players is.