So, someone won a game of tennis on Sunday. I tried to get The Boy interested. I told him that Great Britain won. He couldn't have cared less though, because he doesn't live in Great Britain. He lives in London.
I like that The Boy has no sporting allegiance. I find it really refreshing. We went to a football match last year, and he decided which team he was going to support when we got there. He picked the blue one. Then when they changed ends at half time he changed to the red one.
The least successful sporting event we tried was the Paralympics. Oh, the irony! Dad decided to book tickets for the wheelchair basketball. Dad had decided that it would be a positive display of disability that would fill The Boy with hope and courage for the future. Sometimes, Dad makes really stupid decisions.
We arrived at the O2 stadium, resplendent in our Team GB colours. We had a good view of the court from the wheelchair viewing area, we unfurled our Union Jack flag and it hung with pride from the balcony. Then we waited. And waited. For an hour. By the time the basketball started, the iPad had been exhausted and the drink/eat/toilet joker had been played too early. Dad could feel this one slipping through his fingers.
Wheelchair basketball is an amazing sport. It's fast and furious. And very, very loud. It's accompanied with upbeat music, flashing lights, people shouting, and not like a football match there's no open sky for the sound to dissipate into. It hits the roof of the stadium and rains back down on you. Six minutes we lasted. For The Boy they were six, long, painful minutes.
The hitting out was subtle at first. Then as the sensory overload increased, so did the behaviour. Pinching, scratching, screaming. I decided to make a run for it. Grateful that we'd brought the wheelchair, I wheeled him out of the stadium into the area outside. By now he was out of control. Trying to hit me any way he could, desperate to bite, to hit, to scratch. Anything. I thought being away from the basketball would make things better, but it just seemed to make them worse.
By this point, two security guards had arrived. They stood to one side, not sure what to do. Watching. And to them it must have looked like a grown man was having a fight with a boy in a wheelchair. We made our way further from the basketball, thinking the further away from the noise we got the more The Boy would settle. He didn't. He was flinging his arms at me, filled with a rage I hadn't seen, even by his standards. And all the time we were followed by security. Just watching. Radios in hand.
The further away we walked the more agitated The Boy became. Security were now calling for back-up. I thought the police would be called, and that sounds very dramatic but it's very hard when someone is hitting you and just wants you to go away but you can't leave them alone for their own safety and you just don't know what to do.
Then along came one of those heroes of the Olympic Games. The volunteers. A Games Maker. And I thought here we go, a do-gooder. He smiled at me, and then knelt down next to The Boy's wheelchair. "What's the matter?", he said to him calmly, "can I help you?". His face was in perfect reach for The Boy. I was about to warn him he'd better move when suddenly The Boy stopped screaming and looked at him.
"My flag", he said.
Then it dawned on me. We'd left the flag tied to the balcony. And so the Games Maker did his own sprint down the corridor and moments later returned victorious like Mo Farah with the union jack flapping in his hands.
"Thank you", The Boy said.
And just like that, it was over. Whatever they said in the papers last year about the Games Makers, every bit of it was true.
So we quietly went home and when we got in we sat on the sofa and watched the rest of the basketball on Channel 4 with the sound turned down and the union jack draped across our legs.
The red team won.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.