The most unusual football team: “Sands Utd” plays when one of the players dies a child
Most football players dream of fame and admiration in the eyes of fans, but not these men who have joined the team called “Sands Utd”. Each of their games is a kind of hymn to a dead child who has never had a chance to live, this is a therapy for the fathers themselves, which helps to cope with their grief.
Many of the players behind them have treatment for depression, alcoholism, or post-traumatic syndrome. When a woman loses a child, whether during pregnancy or immediately after, it is customary to talk about the experiences of the mother, her loss and her grief. Men do not talk about this. But this does not mean that they do not survive.
For Oliver Irby, a 27-year-old estate agent, discussing the death of his daughter Minnie is taboo. “Men don’t talk about such a beer in a pub,” says Oliver. – Believe me, this is the last thing they will do. But one day you suddenly drop a word about it, suddenly it turns out that you are far from the only one who happened to survive all this. ”
The 25-year-old therapist Leon Gavin and his girlfriend Eloise lost their son Nolan when he was only 36 weeks old. Leon first wanted to immediately plunge into work, but stayed at home to help Eloise with the funeral. It was she who insisted that Leon go to a meeting with other parents who have suffered a loss. But for a guy, it was too emotional. “We came there first, and I ran away from the nerves to the toilet, where I just vomited. It was too much for me. ”
“We were asked to write the name of our child on the blackboard, and even just writing the word Nolan was so hard for me, so hard …” recalls Leon. At this meeting, one man suddenly offered to assemble a football team for charity and invited Leon to join. The game then took place, and over time, new and new players came. All of them were united by their grief.
Eloise is now pregnant again at the 26th week. And Leon often shakes at the thought that this grief can happen again. “We have a chat with other players, in which we communicate as a family. And if someone says that his girlfriend or wife is in a hospital, we don’t have to explain anything. We all understand his condition, his pain. And every time someone has a “rainbow child” – a lively, healthy child after the previous one died, we all rejoice and send gifts to parents. ”
Another Sands Utd player, Jake Ball, tells his story in which everything started with the death of his daughter Olivia. She was born when she was only 21 weeks old and lived literally an hour before dying in the arms of his girlfriend Kirsty. “We could not talk about it. Kirsty could come home from the street and find me on the floor in tears. And sometimes I came home from work and found it in a completely broken state. ”
“Many people don’t want to talk about it,” says Jake. – And not many people want to hear about it. I lost so many of my friends who left me when I desperately needed support. ” That is why such a football team, which unites men who will always provide support and who, like no one else, understand what the other team members had to go through – this is so valuable.
Leon dreams that once “Sands Utd” will be able to play not only in his club, but also in other cities, but only, of course, for the sake of charity, and not because of a sad occasion. “Only thanks to the team, I still have memories of my son. Some people take it all as given. And for the players of this team, each game is like a magical ritual that becomes invaluable for many couples. ”
We told about one of the ways that helped mothers cope with their emotions in our article “Rainbow Children” – in it you can see pictures from a touching photo shoot of those mothers who have experienced the loss of their child.