Is football good for The A-Word?
Is football good for The A-Word? Tottenham Hotspur's chaps certainly seem to think so. They work with charity The Sporting Memories Foundation to give dementia workshops – which they hope the Beautiful Game is just as good for the mind as it is for the body.
People who go are not expected to actually play a match. Instead, they get access to Spurs memorabilia and can view the club's archive with newspaper clippings, equipment, cartoons, and books.
The idea is that the items evoke memories and conversations.
Sporting Memories actually works with clubs, large and small, in the UK – and their ethos is that everyone is welcome at the weekly events.
Sometimes games are involved – it can be anything from curling (no idea how I could handle it, A-Word or not) or darts, to something that is called walking football, a slower version of the game. However, the purpose of the events is not to practice, but to bring people together.
And I think it's a brilliant idea.
Coincidentally last week my long-suffering husband Chris and I went to the dementia support group at St. George's Hospital, where I was treated – and they had a sports quiz that was almost all about football.
Although I'm probably sweating at my local Zumba class these days, I'm actually a real football fan myself (stock image)
It was really fun – and if the Tottenham workshops are something like that, they are on their way to a winner because I have remembered all kinds of things since the quiz.
You know, although nowadays I'm probably sweating at my local Zumba class, I'm actually a real football fan myself.
In fact, I went to Wembley to see England play in the 1966 World Cup. And my first taste of play came – yes, I did! – when I was around 20, while working for the magazine Vanity Fair.
I was in a women's team for a good cause. Of course, pictures were taken. We were told that she was & # 39; sexy & # 39; – it was, after all, the non-constructed early seventies. We had all done our hair and I was wearing a broad-brimmed hat and bright red knee-high boots from Biba. I think they even loved it. I'm not sure if I stopped them before the game – probably they are. There certainly were no shin guards … they would have ruined the look. And we had a wonderful time. We may have looked girlish, but we swore like troopers – so loud, I expect it would be miles away.
The only unpleasant thing was that one of the girls, Rose, got a very nasty knee injury. So that was her sport career over.
But I was a convert and for a while I persuaded friends to join me on a Saturday so I could get a kickabout.
Was I okay? I have no idea.
But that does not matter. If football is your thing and you can play, do it – a word or not. Everything physical makes the blood flow to your head. And that will stimulate the brain endlessly. Chris often says I'm sharper, and more when I come back from the Zumba class.
Anyway, even though I'm not really playing football, it was good to remember when I did that. These old memories are our lives. They are what makes us – that is why they are important.
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In other news, earlier this month, it was my 68th birthday. My daughters, Suzy and Hannah, took me outside – and booked a table in a very chic, dog-friendly restaurant on Sloane Square, so that Benny could come too.
And I also see my old friends Sylvia and Hodge soon – readers can remember that we all went to the Isle of Wight festival many moons ago to see Bob Dylan. We had lost contact, but after reading this column, we met again and now have plans to go to one of my old venues, Joe Allen, the restaurant and theater bar in Covent Garden.
Chris and I spent many evenings there, drinking different tippels (not that I will be now, because I like the drink) and eating hamburgers. They actually moved – but I heard the atmosphere is pretty much the same. And I am sure it will evoke many more memories.
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