A gold medalist's take on the 2017 GB Special Olympics in Sheffield My blog about going to the Special Olympics GB National Games in Sheffield 2017 By Matthew Salisbury Monday- Set off to Sheffield my mum dropped me at Hayle Marks and Spencers where the coach was. I got a seat then we picked people up from Chiverton Cross and Victoria Services. Trip up was fine but I thought it took forever to get there. Getting our keys at the Sheffield University Finally after a while we got our keys then go up to the dorm where we would sleep. It was a nice room- bathroom was a bit small but minus tv it would do. Tea-We went to a restaurant which is near our Dorm and it was a nice place I had Chicken and Mushroom something and potatoes and veg. For afters had Apple crumble and custard. Then we had a walk round to the tents, played a bit of football then went to sleep. Tuesday-We went to Ranmoor restaurant for breakfast. It was just normal breakfast really, cereal, bacon sandwich ,egg sandwich ,croissant, tea, coffee, juice etc I had cereal and Bacon Sandwich and orange juice. After breakfast we walked to get the bus to the Hallam Football park. We got changed and played 2 games to determine what division we would play in on Wednesday and Thursday. We lost 2-0 and 3-0 I played well in the 2nd game and I almost scored from a free kick but hit the crossbar. Later on we got on the bus to go to Bramall Lane which is the home of Sheffield United. The atmosphere was amazing but scary at the same time because I’m not a person who likes really big crowds. After we had done our waving to the crowd we sat in the stands watching the Opening Ceremony. It was good to see Suzie Perry, Chris Kamara out of Soccer Saturday,Tony Hadley and some guy out of Downton Abbey. It was a bit boring towards the end plus I had cramp in my legs from sitting there so long. When we got back I went to sleep. Wednesday- First day of competition Before the matches started we saw Dave Bassett, the ex Wimbledon manager who won the 1988 FA Cup final vs Liverpool and managed other teams. He told us some stories of the Crazy Gang: Dennis Wise, John Fashanu, Vinnie Jones etc . I thought it was interesting and he seemed like a nice bloke. We would be placed into division 5 which is sort of like Conference standard. The teams we would be up against were: East Midlands Yorkshire and Humberside and South West 2 (our 2nd team) Our first game was against East Midlands. I missed an easy chance from a corner which instead of just tapping it into the net I just got it over the bar. Doesn’t matter though as we beat them 7-1. After lunch we played against Yorkshire and Humberside. We won 7-1 and I made a couple of assists in that game, which is not bad at all. Got back about half 7 then we had tea. I then just chilled in my room and then went to sleep. Thursday-Had to play 3 games against the same teams. Walked to the bus, got changed in to my shirt and boots. First game was against East Midlands and we won 8-0. I scored one as I played up front for a bit even though I’m normally a centre back. After lunch played a bit of football then 2nd match was against Yorkshire and Humberside which we won 8-0. I scored 1 goal in that game. Then the last game we played against South West 2 we hammered them 11-0 although some people weren’t happy with us. This meant we were playing against East Midlands in the final on the Friday for the gold medal. South West 2 were up for the bronze medal against Yorkshire and Humberside. It was nice to see Gareth Southgate who played for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, represented England and is now England manager there was a Q and A but we missed that because we had to go for tea. Friday Gold Medal match I was excited that we were in the final and no matter what happened we were guaranteed a medal. Breakfast I had bacon sandwich and croissant and orange juice. In the final we beat East Midlands 3-0 and one of the players for East Midlands got sent off for 2 yellow cards. At the end, I hugged some of their players then I watched the rest of extra time of South West’s 2 bronze medal game vs Yorkshire and Humberside. They lost 6-3 in the end. About 5 ish it was the Closing Ceremony and we got our medals and waved to the crowd. I enjoyed that. Then it was a party with people dancing etc I just stood there on the pitch. In the evening, there was a party which was a disco sort of thing. I just went to sleep because it would be a long day on Saturday. Saturday Woke up at 5am had shower, get my bags out of my room. Had breakfast at 6am had bacon sandwich. Then just chilled until it was time to leave the Uni. Left about 9am. Stopped off at Bristol for food etc Got to Hayle about 6 ish. My mum picked me up from Marks and Spencers car park then went home. Summary I had a really nice time in Sheffield it’s a nice city and I think people with disabilities should do this because it’s a great experience.