Celtic Links – A day out and the story of Joseph.

5 Mar

A teenage boy sits and watches. His father is on the edge of his seat throughout and constantly cheers on his team, but the boy just watches. Their team is losing – losing but playing brilliantly and the man refuses to give up hope and keeps telling his son:

“They’ll score! They’ll score!”

And they do score!

There is jumping around the living room. There are shouts of encouragement to the team so many miles away: “Come on now!” says the father “We have them! You can do it!”

And the teenage boy watches. He watches his television and he watches his father and his father’s belief and soaks it all in.

Then, in the dying moments, their team scores again!

“Ya beauty” shouts the father and leaps off the couch. Father and son hug one another, for theirs is a special bond. They leap, shout, smile and sing – and they rejoice in that one fabulous and universally understood word — CELTIC!

The kingdom of Fife is one of the earth’s holy places in the world of sport. People, from every corner of the globe come to Fife for the sheer thrill of standing in the rain or the sun or the wind or the cloud just for the thrill of being able to say that they have played golf there.

From California to Kathmandu, from Bangkok to Bangladesh, from Newcastle to New York and from Partick to Panama when it comes to world of golf St Andrews is Paradise, with Kings Barns, Crail and many other courses treated as if they are hallowed ground.

Our teenage boy of the story above dreamed of winning the British Open in Fife but it was a dream he would never achieve.

Sam Torrance’s moment on the World stage would come at the Belfry Resort and Golf Club in Warwickshire where he would sink the put to win the Ryder Cup. It was a moment that would define a great sporting career.

However, ask him about football, and he will tell you how he watched Celtic win the European Cup with his father and legendary coach, Bob. Celtic was Bob Torrance’s team and so Sam was always going to follow them – it was inevitable.

A number of years ago, a well-known Golfing magazine decided to do a feature on Golfers and their football teams and have some of the leading golfers of the day pose in the strip of their choice.

This proved to be a problem because one team seemed to dominate the potential photo shoot and that simply would not do.

Eventually Sam got to wear the hoops but only after fighting off competition from Bernard Gallagher, Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington and various others.

Shortly before the Ryder Cup, Paul McGinley, who followed in Sam’s footsteps as winning Ryder Cup Captain and player, was asked in an interview:

“What is your favourite word?”

“Celtic!” came the instant reply.

McGinley only turned to golf after a knee injury brought his budding Gaelic football career to an end. However in pursuing his chosen career he has never hidden his other passion – The Green and White of Celtic.

Watching Paul McGinley on a golf course is quite an interesting phenomenon.
He tees up with green and white hooped tees and wipes his clubs down with a green and white hooped towel.

On the afternoon of 22nd May 2005, McGinley was leading the BMW Masters Tournament and was hot favourite to win the title. This was his best year in golf and he would ultimately finish third in the European order of merit.

Unfortunately, on the 15th hole, Paul completely fluffed a shot and ended up in a bunker. He was clearly disgusted and so out of sorts that his game lost its consistency during the last holes and he eventually came in second two strokes behind Angel Cabrera of Argentina.

There is a story that abounds which says that Paul was interviewed on television immediately after his round had finished and was asked by the interviewer where things had gone wrong for him and what happened at the 15th?

Allegedly McGinley replied “ F**king Motherwell Scored!” – though that quote cannot be confirmed — or denied apparently!

However, it is not just the golfers who have this amazing love of Celtic football club on the pro tour.

There are few more recognisable people on the golf circuit than Ian Poulter who is a devout Arsenal fan apparently. However, his golf towel his half Arsenal half Celtic on the insistence of his caddy Terry Mundy who is well known for having an affection for the hoops.

However, the last word on this golfing affection for the Glasgow Football Club goes to Sam Torrance.

The scene is a sporting lunch in a Glasgow hotel with a Q & A session with Sam.
The MC announces that the next sporting lunch will be to honour the Rangers side who won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1972.

“ I’ll give that one a miss!” says Sam very loudly and turns to take another question from the floor.

“ How would you compare yourself to Jack Nicklaus?” asks the questioner.

Sam Torrance pauses, then says with a smile:

“ Well that’s like comparing Rangers to Celtic” he says dryly.

“They both play the same sport technically – but they are not really in the same league are they? – never were and never will be!”

———————————————————————————————————————

Joseph strikes a golf ball again and again. Sometimes the ball goes left, sometimes right sometimes it flies straight. It doesn’t matter on a golf range. The ball can fly for two hundred yards or barely make it past twenty yards and it won’t matter.

For Joseph it is the repetitiveness of the swing that counts; the recurring routine of the set up, the swing and the end result that counts. When he gets down to swinging the club again and again he is happy.

He talks non stop between hits:

“ That is a good one. I like that shot. That is a good one. Keep your eye on the ball when you hit it. That is a good one.”

And occasionally:

“ If you don’t hit it right you will go back in your box prospector! Yes you will!”

Joseph is severely autistic.

The exercise at the golf range is one of his favourite pastimes. He likes to cycle, swim, ski and various other things but he is keen on golf.

His mum can sit on the bench behind his place on the golf range and take a rest. She can maybe read a book or a newspaper and enjoy a cup of tea from a paper cup.

Sometimes she hits a few balls with Joseph but on other occasions she just takes a break at the golf range while he hits the balls.

After this there will be cycling, and then home for tea and then bed.

Tomorrow she will go to work, do her job and then come home and take Joseph out somewhere else – maybe to a concert, maybe just for a walk or maybe to the cinema – and then home for tea and the bed.

And on to the next day…… and the next.

Joseph’s mother is a widow. He only has her, and she only has him.

He is 25 years old and weighs 17 stone. If he doesn’t exercise he will get ever heavier and will suffer potential health problems. He is a big lump of a boy.

He is generally a happy bloke, and can be very funny with his observations and his repetition of any phrase he has heard on the TV.

Once his mother went out for dinner and a friend agreed to “babysit” with Joseph.

“ He likes to watch movies” his mum had said and so the friend thought nothing at all about saying to Joseph “ Come on and we will watch a movie big guy!”

And his face lit up as he sat down on the couch: “I like movies”.

Perhaps Pulp Fiction was not the best choice.

When Joseph’s mother came home he was in bed, asleep and all was well.

It was only the following day when she took him out and he started repeating all of the lines from the movie that she realised what had happened.

There was no point in trying to explain to passers-by, all they saw was a 6 ft plus chap with a big smile on his face suggesting that he was going to “shoot the mother**ker up the ass!”

That’s the way it is with an autistic adult and for the parent or carer of an Autistic adult.

Sometimes funny, more times sad – and all the time just hard —- bloody hard!

——————————————————————————————————————-

Thursday April 2nd 2015 is world autism awareness day.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

Joseph is one of those who needs specialist support 24/7

People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Some Autism sufferers, like Joseph, have severe communication and learning difficulties. They cannot communicate like other people do and have no ability to pick up the social niceties that most of us come to learn naturally.

The world is a jumbled mixture of sounds, people, personalities and situations which don’t always make sense and which can’t be described.

So, Thursday April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

It is also the day of the inaugural Celtic FC Foundation Charity Golf Day which will take place at Renfrew Golf Club next to the Normandy Hotel. All proceeds raised from the golf day will be going towards a project initiated by the Celtic FC Foundation which will help children and young people with autism and their families.

In collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, Celtic FC Foundation intend to create a project which will offer an opportunity to enhance each child’s wellbeing through supported physical activity such as football, dance and maybe some golf with a focus on fun.

The autism project will also seek to enhance parents’ and carers’ skills in behaviour management with an emphasis on promoting the development of social interaction skills for children and young people with autism.

Ultimately, the proceeds from Celtic FC Foundation’s inaugural Golf Day will help support autistic children and young people through both inclusiveness and providing parents and carers with practical skills to enhance their child’s well-being.

The format of the Golf Day will see a host of teams playing 18 holes with a shotgun start and a Texas scramble scoring system.

Among the teams, will be a team of ex-Celts aiming to take the prestigious Celtic FC Foundation Golf Day trophy.

Following the tournament, there will be a fantastic carvery lunch as well as a charity auction, raffle and entertainment.

The cost to enter a team of four is £400 and availability is now limited. Guests who want to just come to the lunch can pay separately.

The golf day and its aims are supported by European Golf Pro and Celtic Season ticket holder Stephen Gallagher among others.

If you are interested in submitting a team for Celtic FC Foundation’s inaugural Golf Day or require any more information, please emailcfcfoundation@celticfc.co.uk or call 0141 551 429.

If you are a golfer or have friends who are golfers please consider putting a team together and participating.

If you are not a golfer and would like to help then please text CELT07 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070 or donate on the Celtic FC Foundation just giving page which can be found herehttps://mydonate.bt.com/charities/celticfcfoundation

Autism is a very real problem for a huge number of people so please help.

Sadly, it is a very real problem for Joseph and his mum as theirs is an absolutely true story.

Joseph will never be Sam or Paul or Stephen or Padraig and he will never play St Andrews but you can help guys like Joseph by having a day out at the golf in Renfrew on 2nd April.

Thanks for your time.

BRTH

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One Response to “Celtic Links – A day out and the story of Joseph.”

  1. David March 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Hi Brog

    Loved this, especially because I’m not the only sad case on the course with green and white golf gear. If you ever play St Nicks in Prestwick and find a ball with green hoops applied patiently with a sharpie you will know who’s it is.😄

    My grandson has autism so trying to round up a team right now.

    Kr

    David (aka Schadenfreuder 😉)

    >

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