This page is going to be in English for now. I think it’s important, if people read me that more than just Slovenian readership understands. It goes the same for my other posts, but I just cannot find so much time to translate all of the pages. So, for starters, here is one for the blind sport, goalball.
What is goalball? I think you can find a good explanation directly on the website of blind sports here. Basically it was created to help blinded war veterans after WWII, but it has become much more since then. The initial game was much simpler than now. Rules change every 4 or 5 years, after the Olympic games, just to keep the game alive, in pace with the new wishes, studies in sports, equipment, etc. So, as you see, it’s also a Paralympic sport, played on the international level. Who can play it? Well, on the national, friendly games level, anyone. But on the international level the rules are more strict, it is a game for blind or visually impaired persons.
To put it simple, there are 3 persons on each side of the court, all wearing dark eyeshades, trying to prevent the big ball with bells inside to get into their goal, avoiding penalties like high ball or long ball. This is really in a nutshell. It took me years to really understand it (and there are always changes and doubts anyway). I am not a player. I am a referee. And most importantly, I like many players, take this game seriously, it’s a competition, it’s like Hunger games sometimes.
A player once said in anger: “Goalball was not invented for the referees!” We were discussing a rule and he disagreed. It got me thinking. It’s true. The game is not here for us, but we still need to be good in order for the game to run smoothly. The best referee is almost invisible in the game (like a good translator of a book). And we are here to promote this sport – at least it’s the way I see it.
To me, though, this sport has brought other dimensions in my life as well. I feel like the group of international referees that I meet every year is like my second family. A family I don’t see very often, but that’s why we have more fun together when we see each other.
And also, I can travel. I can see how blind and visually impaired people all around the world live and how cultural differences can also be seen in organizing sports events, and above all, a blind sports event. And most of all, I enjoy: people, places, positive spirit! That’s the point, isn’t it?