My son Guilherme is a 14 year old boy, plays rugby at Sporting Clube de Portugal, and is in the club’s U-10s team.
He is profoundly deaf, and despite all the support of coaches and colleagues in his team, he has always wanted to meet other deaf players like him.
We found out about Mathew Gilbert, an English international player for England Deaf Rugby.
There was the possibility, with the support of the whole rugby family, that Guilherme could take a trip so that he could see his role model train and play.
We set up a crowdfunding campaign, and we managed to raise the necessary expenses for the trip and accommodation.
Here’s a diary of the trip:
DAY 1- TRAVEL
We started the journey without knowing what to expect, after so many delays, injuries, lack of agenda, etc, I confess that the Guilherme only believed when he packed hisr bags and saw some pound notes …
March 1st, very early.
We flew and landed in the icy arms of the Beast from the East.
Low temperature and snow, lots of snow waiting for us in England. Before we got on the freeway, an icy rugby field… We were really in a different country.
We arrived early, but the bus ride around, fading the snow, made it that day, to get to the hotel, dinner and sleep.
DAY 2 – KNOWING THE IDOL
Early morning, on the way to Hartpury College, where Hartpury RFC’s training fields are, and also Gloucester Rugby. Without public transportation, it was an adventure to get there.
When we arrived, they informed us that the training was canceled, because the fields had several inches of snow, which made it impossible for all training. We then met the Performance Chef of Gloucester Rugby, Will Carvalho.
He welcomed us and paid us a visit to the Club premises. In the access corridor, the Guide was drawing attention to this or another detail. The centennial history of this Club is dignified and extensive.
Meanwhile, the player we wanted to see was training, Mathew Gilbert, an English international player for England Deaf Rugby, one of the few deaf to achieve professionalism and play in the Aviva Champioship.
We talked to him, and he helped us in some practical matters of the game. They exchanged ideas, he and Gui about the game and in the end he promised to help us.
WELCOME TO THE KINGSHOLM “CASTLE”!
Invited by Guilherme Carvalho to watch Gloucester Rugby vs Newcastle Falcons, we headed to Gloucester, and after lunch saw the crowds dressed in Cherry and White where Kingsholm Stadium was.
We arrived at Kingsholm Stadium in time to take practice photos, watch the team warm up, and see the enthusiastic supporters of the Falcons who were close to us.
The shouts of encouragement at Gloucester was amazing, even more so in a stadium almost fully filled with vibrant supporters.
Our thanks to Will Carvalho, whose sympathy and attention have given Guilherme and me one of the best oval memories of our lives.
THE END AND THE GOODBYE TO GLOUCESTER!
Day out and finally see Gloucester Cathedral, where we visited the parts of the Cathedral Cloisters that served as background to the Harry Potter saga. The Wizarding World of Hogwarts took us by assault and to Guilherme in particular.
We left there with a full heart.
Before we left the hotel, we visited Gloucester Deaf Centre, close to where we were staying.
They loved to talk to Guilherme, and they loved knowing he played rugby.
They showed a lot of interest, just like Guilherme, in the sign language.
We will be sure to one day go back and visit them.
The Limping Chicken is the world’s most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Fill Your Boots is The Grassroots Rugby Player Exchange, helping local Rugby clubs find those extra bodies in order to Make Games Happen.
Please visit our website – www.fybrugby.com