I’m 38 years old, I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and right now I’m in the “transitional period” between walking and being in a wheelchair (which I obviously want to avoid!). I’m also a Leeds United fan who does a 330-mile round-trip to Elland Road every other week.
So why go to the hassle if you’re impaired or have a disability or condition that should stop you? Because you just can’t beat it, can you. Getting up early, slipping the shirt on, the anticipation, the journey, the songs, the pre-match pint and the smell of the pies!
It's the ultimate escape, you’re surrounded by thousands of people all singing the same songs, all wanting the same thing. I embrace that strength and at that point I feel euphoric. All the things that have got me down physically are eradicated. Sometimes that’s just for seconds but it can feel like hours. It’s a natural battery charger for my body, three points can make me walk taller and for longer.
Some might say, why bother? Yes, there’s the hassle of the traffic and financial constraints and then I ask myself if I can afford to go to football? It’s not just a question for my wallet though, it’s also a question for my body. The answer is always that I can’t afford NOT to go.
I need to have that feeling of belonging, that feeling of solidarity, that feeling of singing my heart out for 90 minutes, that feeling of going through it all together, that feeling of hope, that feeling that things can change and get better - for my football team, my condition, and me.