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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Paralympics, Pop and P&G Pampering at Sainsbury's Super Saturday!

Imagine your child being born with one leg, or hearing that after a car accident/shark attack/major fall, that child will never walk again (God forbid)- then 22 years later see them joining the British Paralympic team for wheelchair basketball! How proud would you be? To turn around a tough situation, overcoming the misfortune, fuelled by determination and strong support, I say hats off to these athletes and the people supporting them.

Distinct lack of photos taken but this emulates the sport perfectly

Sainsbury's Super Saturday, held last weekend at Clapham Common was a cross between a pop music festival and sports spectacle, show-casing Britain's talent in the warm-up to the 2012 Paralympics and celebrating the numerous Paralympic sports. Thanks to P&G, a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, and my earlier involvement in the 'Life before P&G: 1930s Housewife Challenge', my mum, Leon and I were given VIP treatment for the day and had a brilliant time.

The P&G Thank You Mum Zone was lavishing attention on the mothers of these athletes with entertainment, and mini-pampering sessions and kindly invited some bloggers too to enjoy the day. Starting with champagne and a mini photo shoot, my mum enjoyed a mini-makeover and I got my nails painted a delicious red, Leon loved the balloon lady who made him a fantastic tiger on a lead, and danced while Belinda Carlisle got her groove on (She did end up playing "Oooh Heaven is a place on Earth").

My mamita deservedly having a break

The main festival site had a main stage for the music, fun games (massive slide, bouncy castle, Zorbing, Bungee trampoline), the sports arena, and several 'Have a go at a Paralympic sport' zones where you could see the athletes in action and try it yourself.

My favourite sport of the day was wheelchair basketball. A fast and gripping game very similar to the able-bodied version, but sadly we didn't get to watch the arena match as had to leave before it started. Fortunately we witnessed the game in some action during the day and got chatting to a friendly athlete who explained the rules. Similar to normal basketball but each team can have 5 players on the court at a time totalling 14 points. Ie. each player is attributed points 1-4.5 based on their disability. E.g those with immense core strength or able to swivel hips, have an advantage over lower-body paralysis as they don't need their arms to turn the wheelchair, and thus are attributed more points. A maximum of 14 points is allowed on the court by each team at a time, so you can imagine how important the coach is in determining who to place when, and how valuable a classification 1 athlete is.

Queues and pregnancy dissuaded me from giving it a spin, but I regret not trying it. However it was interesting to watch others give it a go and witness the main struggles able-bodied participants found when attempting the sport. Most were very S.L.O.W.

Music-wise, the line-up was perfect for teeny-boppers or grown women who were happily swaying to Will Young tunes (my mum included...) but I didn't really know any of the acts - yes I've heard of Pixie Lott, Olly Murs, The Saturdays etc, but play their music and God help me identify who's who. Sugababes was at the top of my list, but they were on way later than I could stay. I felt a bit old- or young- depending on how you looked at it! As we came into the festival there were masses of teenagers screaming round a small stage at some teenage boys (No idea who they were but seemed happy with the attention *found out they were The Wanted) and later on while watching Table Tennis with The Wanted, the group of girls next to us were shrieking away Jaaaaaaaaay Jaaaaaaaaay I loooove Yooooou!! (much to Leon's amusement and he started shouting it too) followed by Oh. MY. God. He LOOKED AT ME! Shriek shriek shriek . It made me laugh but actually I've been there: 13 years old at Party In the Park with the giant Ricky Martin poster I'd made... Then I became a bit more cool and started idolising Matt Bellamy, trying to chat to him at every Muse concert or TV appearance (and often succeeding!) and then obviously it was all about the music.


We were there with VIP passes so we made the most of the VIP area- drinking multiple lemonades and eating lots of delicious chocolate and raspberry desserts.

The fabulous food court in the Super Dome

Clever design on tablecloth doubling up as a games board

I noticed Alex the cage-fighter guy- you know, Jordan/Katie Price's ex? (Mari and Lizzie got to know him better) and then a girl who used to be in Steps- but no- she was in Atomic Kitten. Thank goodness I read the other bloggers Sabina, Maria Jose and the snoggers above to work out who was who.

Really grateful for an insightful and fun day out that both my mum and toddler utterly enjoyed.

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