Roger and Tash Sports Buddies
Covid impact on Roger
Before Covid, Roger said he had been very active and in his younger days in South Africa, he had run many ultra-marathons. Since moving to Brighton, he said he’d become confident in travelling around the city by bus and on foot and didn’t feel hindered by his partial sight.
However, Roger said he struggled with the lack of exercise and freedom in lockdown. He wasn’t allowed to leave his room to protect the other people he lived with, so after lockdown, he became proactive in getting back into exercise.
“During lockdown, I missed being active. I felt sad about being at home, as I had gotten used to being active (running, going to the gym, walking a lot) and keeping busy. All of a sudden, not do anything except stay in the house.” Roger
After seeing a Sports Buddy leaflet in October 2021, he was keen to get involved. So he met Monica, our Coordinator at a local café, so she could find out more about Roger to help find the right match for him.
Sports Buddies Active Socials
From that first meeting, Roger was keen to come along to the active socials we have run at Sports Buddies. These have included cricket, rounders, badminton, seafront walks, martial arts, and a Parable dance session.
As Tash and roger were both runners, Monica felt they would be a perfect match, plus they had a lot of other things in common.
Bonding over running
“When I met Roger, we instantly bonded over running and his immense ultra-marathon experience. We had both signed up for marathon/10k in April, so we started training together by attending Hove Parkrun.
Roger is full of knowledge and provided me with some training tips he had picked up over his years of running, which helped me in the marathon. We picked up our race packs together before the race and then celebrated after we completed by going for pizza.” Tash
Sports and fun activities together
“Not only did we attend Park Run, but we also could: go swimming, on walks to Marina and Hove Lagoon, crazy golf, and sports buddy socials.
We had a day trip to Eastbourne, where Roger previously learnt his way around with the staff, so we went on a walk around the seafront.
We also went for food and attended the Lady Boys of Bangkok, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.” Tash
Stay up Late Activities
Roger has been keen to get involved in many things Stay Up Late organises. He has been an active member of the Sports R Us Advisory Group that meets regularly to advise on different activities of the charity. When we made a Christmas Video thanking our volunteers, Roger joined in and made a good connection with another Sports Buddy Volunteer from South Africa.
Ending and maintaining the friendship
When we train our volunteers, we discuss ending the relationship well, even before it starts. Life happens, and circumstances change, so it’s essential, to be honest about that and think about how to lessen the impact of having to end your budding relationship.
“I had to leave Brighton in August, which sadly meant I would no longer be able to continue meeting up with Roger as a Sports Buddy.
Roger and I have bonded very well, and I felt sad that this would have to end.
However, we are keeping in touch, and I hope to hear all about Roger’s half marathon in Bournemouth in October.” Tash
To mark the end of their match and Roger’s birthday, they agreed to meet up for a meal in Hove just before she left at the end of August. They both enjoyed it and exchanged gifts and cards to remember each other and agreed to stay in touch by phone. Roger had called Tash for a chat in September, which he enjoyed. If things allow, they may meet up in the London area in future.
Volunteer overall comment
I very much enjoyed my time with Roger and growing that friendship. I felt we got on very well, and it was good to experience different activities together. He is such a lovely, interesting person, so I am sure his next sports buddy will enjoy meeting up with him.
The wider impact
Roger’s involvement with Sports Buddies seemed to have benefitted him outside the organisation. With his enthusiasm for exercise, he managed to persuade some of his housemates to go on walks with him (as long as it involved going for food, of course!), and he tells us that his general health had improved too.