As a result I got to go to the Sainsbury's IPC athletics Grand Prix yesterday. I'll meet Hannah properly next weekend. There was a chance I'd get to say hi on Saturday too but the schedule meant it was unlikely.
It was AWESOME.
Exhausting, but absolutely fabulous.
The atmosphere was lovely. And the people sitting next to us were rather fabulous....
Even though not every race went to plan
(I was so impressed with his composure afterwards - he must have been devastated)
It didn't detract from the overall event - complete with hideous orange clappy things.
I think my brother enjoyed it too....
I hadn't met Hannah. And the competition was nearly over - she'd obviously be busy afterwards. But then, thanks to Ben's VIP status, I managed to tag along when he got to meet the athletes!!
So not only did I see amazing sport and sportsmanship, I also spent time on the track mingling with a mix of up and coming youngsters keen to meet their heroes - and the heroes themselves. Yes, at different times I was within a few feet of David Weir (1500m), Aled Davis (Discus) [I really wanted to ask whether he'd seen my cartoon of him at the paralympics but was too shy!], Richard Shabel (Club), Jonnie Peacock (100m) and more.
And I got to chat briefly with Hannah Cockroft - and be introduced to her coach as 'My logo designer' - How awesome is that!! I was hoping to meet up with her after her obligatory pee and drugs test - but medical conditions and train times conspired against me.
By the time I reached the station I had over-heated, overdone it, coherent thought was gone, and I sounded like Dory when she speaks whale in 'Finding Nemo'.
Why, oh why did this have to happen then?
Yes. It is the absolute truth. My 2 operational brain cells then had a fight over whether to collapse on the floor, shut up and recover - or to chat and tell him I'm a cartoonist and he should check out my work. Consequently, I think what happened was a surreal mixture of the two. At half speed. With an added "'sss hot. mmm drunk." While little brother Stephen (who I introduced as 'My servant, Stephen' - or was it slave?) got out my cool vest and worked on returning me to a semi-human state.
Sorry Ade! The explanation you should have received is: I have Ehlers Danlos/Hypermobility Syndrome - a connective tissue disorder meaning (amongst other things) that all my ligaments are too loose, and my veins are also too stretchy, causing PoTS - the reason for my....floppy, uncoordinated, slurry...ness. In fact, I should have just shown you this card:
And as we left to catch our train, Ade called after us "Bye Hannah, and Slave!" (Little brother has my humour - and was rather delighted.)