What is your role at Goalball UK/within the goalball world?
I’m a level 1 IBSA referee and have blown the whistle at tournaments since 2014.
How did you discover goalball?
At the 2012 Paralympics, I attended 2 sessions of goalball – a group round and the men’s semi-finals. I was fascinated both by the game and the role of the referees – it was clear that it mattered which of the 2 refs makes which call, but I didn’t quite figure it out before the tournament ended. A few weeks later my husband – Dyfrig Lewis-Smith – joined the Cambridge Dons and became part of their Novice team. I helped at club sessions and was ‘up for it’ the next time Goalball UK recruited officials.
Is there a particular song, artist, or genre that you listen to before a tournament to get in the mood? Or anything you’re loving at the moment?
My playlist is very cheesy and weird. Often I’m listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack, or a Beatles Album as I arrive at a tournament, but my playlist also includes 101 Wurlitzer Favourites and lots of cheesy cover songs.
Do you have any pre-game superstitions or rituals?
I don’t have any superstitions or rituals, but I make a habit to review a few sections of the rules before every tournament. I go over things which are rare, or which got the officials thinking about a previous tournament, and for days that end with a ranking, the rules for extra throws.
Do you have a favourite post-match meal?
A plate of vegetarian curries with rice as I tell my other half about the day’s play is a great way to round off a day.
Which goalball player do you admire the most and why?
Warren Wilson, at the Cambridge Dons, whose passion for goalball has brought so many people into the sport for the first time.
Outside of goalball, what other hobbies/sports do you do?
I play board games and computer games, mostly strategy games like Civilisation VI, but currently the cooperative game Gloomhaven. My ideal Saturday when not at a goalball tournament would be gathered around a table with friends, rolling dice and weighing up strategies for board domination. To put it another way, one way or another my weekend involves a rule book. I’m also a Christian. It’s not a hobby, but a passion that shapes my whole life. I work as a hospital Chaplain and am involved in several local churches.
Finally, what place, anywhere in the world, is on your bucket list to visit and why?
I want to visit Japan, travel by train, and explore the cities and a bit of the countryside. I once flew back from South Korea next to a woman from Japan. She pulled out her phone to show me pictures of the snow and the Cherry blossom in her district – I’ll get there one day, I hope.