We all know that the variety and appeal of sports is universal. But sadly, accessibility to sporting venues is not. While this might mean that the easiest and more comfortable way to watch sport is on TV, it is really no substitute for being present in the arena—soaking up the atmosphere, sharing the camaraderie, and ultimately savouring the taste of victory or the desolation of defeat. I recently attended a Rugby World Cup game, and believe me, there is nothing like the real thing.
But true accessibility is about more than simply getting into a venue. It is about being able to circulate freely and independently, being able to use the facilities, and being able to view whatever sport you have chosen with a clear, uninterrupted view even when the spectator in front of you jumps up to cheer or criticise some element of play.
Attending can be easier if you know the system or are on a return visit, but quite daunting where a new venue is concerned. Here are a few tips that will make your outing more enjoyable. As they say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
• Venues that are accessible have a limited number of seats for people with disabilities; therefore it is essential that you make your requirements known when booking your ticket.
• When planning to attend a sporting event, consider checking public transport as parking may be difficult.
• If public transport is not an option, check on parking facilities but also remember that the closer to the venue that you park, the more difficult it will be to leave the event.
• Think about speaking with someone who has visited the venue before. They may be able to provide you with more tips and tricks for getting around.
• We have no control over the weather so keep a watch on weather forecasts and select games carefully. Spending hours after a game feeling like a drowned rat is really uncomfortable.
If you can’t find venue information online, don’t ever be afraid to ask! No one knows your abilities better than you do. Don’t let the power of negative thinking put you off. Although it is a challenge, it can be done!