I didn’t just go back home to the Caribbean for a holiday. I went back home because I had many questions that I needed to ask. I recently lost someone who was like family to me and I also just want to take some time off just to get away to clear my head and enjoy my time. It was a great experience for me to go back especially on my own for the first time and learn things. I was not able to get a break last year when I was doing my academic journal while finishing off my last year at uni. It was a great way to start my 2018 and I look forward to many more visits to the Caribbean. I now look forward to finishing off my masters, attending qualitative sports conference in Canada and other events.

“Thomas, when you did your presentation, your speech is excellent. How did you do it? ” (8.11.17).

Woke up a little early but I had a good sleep.

I arrive in Cambridge at 8:10 am, here I am at the station waiting for my friend. It is becoming a routine for me every Wednesday before we go to the University together. We were catching up on how our week was and also talked about the presentation. She thinks that she did well but believes that she could have done it better and I felt the same. I told her about the questioning part of the presentation I felt that I did not do well. She said “It is only 10%” and I replied, “10% does really mean a lot so I hope I did okay.”

We headed to Compass House for our 9 am lecture and the presentation today is about Doping. If you wanted to ask me how I feel about the presentation about Doping. Honestly, I find it all right. I do know how it is important to know about doping in sport but there is so many laws, regulations, testing and debate about why people are against it or not. One of the students was talking about is it okay for the coach to give young athlete to take drugs for certain sport? I’m talking the age between 12 – 16. Do you think it is okay? Do you think it is the young athlete’s responsibility to know what they are taking or even if they got positive for taking one, it is their own problem? With these questions about young athletes taking drugs makes you think about what would you do if you are in this situation.

Anyway, I had my result for the presentation for modality last week on. I didn’t get the grade that I was expecting. However, hearing a feedback from the marker. He said that what’s interesting about my presentation is that when I said my modality is me he was really interested in that. He wanted to hear more about what I have to say. First, I did explain about ontology, epistemology and how they linked together. He liked how I asked the audience the questions to see if they understand. He wanted me to explain things little more in-depth. He wanted to hear how I did with my journal article and how am I used to use that as part of my research to get people to share their experiences/story. It was mainly more that he wanted me to talk more about my research and what am I looking for. Something more in depth rather than me talking about the ontology and epistemology.

Not only he talked about what he was hoping for, he was amazed about from his experience when he sees a deaf person doing a presentation, they seem to struggle but he was surprised about how my speech was excellent, I took my time to explain things slowly and so on. But he was confused how can a deaf person like me can do the presentation so well? I explained to him why I hard to learn things in a hard way because every time when I know I have to do the presentation. I like to practise my speech and that is important for me. I am not sure about other deaf people but it is for me massively because I come from hearing family and I know what it feels to lose my hearing since when I was a kid, as well as the thought of me not being able to speak again to communicate with my family.

I literally go to google translator and type in the word I want to learn how to pronounce like “Emancipatory or Autoethnography.”  Believe me, it is not an easy word but I would spend an hour learning how to say these words. Then go and tell my parents if I am pronouncing the words correctly. To be honest, they do struggle on how to say it but, it was my parents who keep encouraging me to speak every day, correcting my grammar and everything you could think of to improve my speech and they still do that to me today. It is really annoying but I am grateful for that. I know most deaf people prefer to sign rather than to speak but for me, I think it is important to learn how to speak properly as well as signing. So, this is what I told him and he was really impressed with that. He said “If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about your grade because your research project is unique and I look forward to it and congratulation with your publication. Also, you can’t fail a master student who has published his academic journal.”

Honestly, when he said that I never felt so proud of myself listening to his feedback. Of course, there was some criticism but it was something that I could learn from him and see what I need to improve next time.



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I did think about leaving the course (1.11.17).

I woke up early because I completely forgot to change my alarm clock 1 hour backwards. I did not need to get up at 4:45 am but anyway I decided to get up because it was the day of my first presentation for my masters. To be honest, the module I am doing is my least favourite. The module is Advanced Modalities in Sport and Exercise Science.

At first, I had no clue what my modality is because everyone in the class seems to know what they are doing; they know what equipment that they are going to need for their research project. In this module, you got to understand what is your modality and how are you going to use them and why? Also, the history of the equipment and how it has been developed over the years. For instance, the equipment that you are going to use is the treadmill, so how to use them, where does it come from, what treadmill you’re going to use and how treadmill has been developed over the years. For me, I am not using any equipment because it’s not what I want to do my research so I had no clue. I was like “What the hell y’all talking about?” Honestly I did think about leaving the course because I did not like the way I was being taught, I was like is it really worth for me to listen and stay full 12 months to those “quantitative people” who is going to tell us all about their research and has nothing to relate or compare for “qualitative” people, people like me?

I decided to speak to my supervisor about how I feel about the course and thinking am I really making the right choice to do MSc Sport and Exercise Science? They told me about that they have been through the same situation as me thinking about the future, the life and people that they have to deal with every day. Also, they said “Some people see the world as internal and some see as external. Besides, what’s the point of you dropping out when you’re the first ever student who ever published academic journal article?” It has made me realised there are so many things that I can do and why throw it all away? I’ve decided that I am going to stay and get what I always wanted first place and I am not alone because I have two amazing supervisors that are always going to support me.

Anyway, back to what happened last week Wednesday, I woke up early, had my breakfast boiled eggs, toast and green tea. Then got ready to go to Cambridge from London King’s Cross. I arrived Cambridge early than I normally do but it was because I wanted to meet my friend at the station so we can go to the university together. As we were walking, she kept saying that how nervous she is about her presentation and thinking that she is not going to do well. I wasn’t nervous at all because I know I had a lot of practice. I tell her “You have nothing to be nervous about, you know all of us. All you got to do is relax, take your time and speak slowly so everyone can understand you AND ME!” I did figure out what my modality was after speaking to my supervisors, so I have to talk about that I show good understanding ontology and epistemology and how they both linked so well together.

When arriving at the campus, my friend continued to annoy me about how nervous she is and she managed to build up my nerves for worrying what would happen for my presentation. It is annoying because I always seem to know how to control my nerves and stay calm. After I had my morning lecture, I went straight to see my supervisor so that she would give me some tips before the presentation and practice in front of her.

Before 2 pm, I had a quick practice with a friend from the course and having that practice I felt at ease. It was time for my actual presentation and I am last so I had a long way to go until my turn to present in front of everyone in the group and 2 markers.  When it was time for listening to everyone’s presentation. I was completely switched off. Why? It was because I have no clue or care what they were talking about their modality. I know should but honestly, I was more interested listening to two of my friend’s presentation when one was talking about a semi-structured interview and another one was talking about physical literacy. It was interesting because it’s an interesting topic to listen to until it was finally the time for my presentation. I stood up and was beginning to get nervous and present to the group until one of the markers said: “We got to wait for your supervisor to come.” When he said that I was actually buzzing because I enjoy to present to the people I know really well so I didn’t feel nervous at all! Here I am presenting to the whole group about my modality.

After my presentation, I think I did really well as I told a friend to film me the whole presentation so I can always look back and see what I can improve next time I am doing a presentation. When it comes to questions time, to be honest, I wasn’t prepared. NONE of the students asked me the questions. It was all the lecturers asking me the questions that I should be able to answer. On the journey, back home, I watched the video of my presentation, I thought I could have done better but hopefully, I get a good grade once I get a feedback from the marker when it has been marked.




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“Sport saved my life” but “I am tired of being an alien!”: Stories from the life of a deaf athlete.


Objectives: This study explores the ways in which a deaf athlete’s experiences of participation in sport can affect his psychological and social well-being, and how social and interpersonal relationships play a role in shaping these experiences.

Design: To produce an understanding of the embodied experience of being a deaf athlete over the years and in different social situations, an autoethnographic approach was adopted.

Method: To generate the stories represented in this study, three main strategies have been adopted: memory writing, emotional recall, and the use of memory. Adopting the position of the storyteller, data was represented through an evocative autoethnography, with the aim to describe subjective emotional experiences to create empathy with, as well as increase awareness and encourage reflection in the reader.

Results: Five story fragments taken from a deaf athlete’s life are presented, in relation to key moments of the athlete’s life. The stories show how social relationships affect the athlete’s experience of sport participation, spanning from an enthusiastic inclusion in playing sport with hearing and non-hearing peers, to the feelings of alienation felt due to social exclusion from hearing sport events, and the hopelessness deriving from a lack of understanding of the specific needs that come from coaching a deaf person.

Conclusions: The theoretical and practical implications of this study are discussed, with particular attention towards the opportunity of portraying the experiences of a category of athletes that has been scarcely investigated, and even more rarely allowed its own voice.



Irish, et al. (2017)