The Power of Sport: Joe's Story - by Clare Simmonds

This is the story of my son Joe. As a little boy we tried several sports clubs but it was clear that team sports wasn’t his thing. He found this hard at school. He was good at swimming, bursting with energy. I would watch him jumping up and down, dunking his head under the water. I must admit being slightly worried, because all the other children were standing still waiting for their turn.

Then someone told me maybe we should try climbing because they had watched him climb a tree and he had very good balance. He was about six. But we were in the middle of moving to another area and so we didn’t follow it up.

In his new school, Joe was bullied from the very first day. So we ended up eventually taking him out of school to home educate. We also found that he had dysographia, dyspraxia and mild dyslexia which made writing frustrating and worsened his self-esteem. His confidence was at an all-time low.

We, like most parents, but especially because we home educate, look for opportunities and try as much as possible to follow interests. For Joe sport has been a big part of this. It has been a big positive in Joe’s life. It’s where he is happiest and where he wants to be. But it has to  be sport he can do by himself and satisfies his need to challenge himself.

He started going to a Parkour club and was soon mastering flips and climbing up anything and everything, jumping over benches. Then we went to Rudyard Lake Sailing Club open day. He loved it and we joined the club. Members who had been sailing for a long time couldn’t believe he had never sailed before. Six months later having never sailed before he won outstanding junior sailor trophy at the Christmas prize giving. The club is great at encouraging children and young people. He’s been crewing for another member, attending their youth training sessions and will be working towards becoming an assistant instructor.

A year ago we came to Tumbling Trampoliners. Joe found his third passion. We would come for one session and he would beg me to let him stay for the next and the next. He now attends every session he can which is thirteen hours altogether. He’s also become a volunteer coach. When he’s doing any of these things I can see he is loving every minute and at the end wanting to come back. He just looks so free.

Photo courtesy Tumbling Trampoliners/Yannick Vidal