Tom says he was recently attending a new university when one of the teachers called him at his office. What did I do wrong? Am I behind in my studies? Or is there something wrong with my registration? These are the questions Tom asked himself as he made his way to the office.
Imagine his amazement when the teacher said to him, “I want to discuss your feet. My daughter has the same problem as you.
Tom Beard, story
Tom Beard was born with clubfoot, the medical term is clubfoot-varus-supine.
When he was born, his two feet pointed downward and inward, with the soles of both feet facing backwards. Without corrective treatment, clubfeet are very limiting in daily activities such as walking, running, and anything that requires standing.
This question from the speaker brought Tom back to his childhood, to all the surgeries he had had, being in a wheelchair and being pushed through the halls of school by his friends, and even the time when bullies knocked him down.
Says Tom: “It wasn’t easy. Several times my mother was called by the school precisely because of the bullying of which I was the victim”. Tom had never realized how common his problem was to many until that day when the teacher called him asking for advice.
“She was heartbroken – continues Tom – because the treatments had not yet given the expected results and her daughter was only three years old. I told her not to panic because what the doctors can do now for the children, it is a lot”.
In fact, now all the surgeries Tom has had are no longer necessary, and not even all those metal pins Tom has in his foot joints. “My dad was the first to let me try golf. He got me some great little clubs and I started throwing my first shots with them: I was five years old.
When I was seven years old, he enrolled me in the golf club that I still frequent. Because of my problems, I didn’t play a lot of holes, it was more to put myself in the middle, to feel like a member of a club, since I certainly couldn’t be part of a football team. or rugby.
“Twenty years later, Tom Beard is still a member of the same club, a place where he feels totally at home.
The sociability in a group of people with common interests, the game and the experiences in the field, all this changed his life.
“Golf is probably the biggest influence on my life. I think if I didn’t have golf I wouldn’t be who I am today, I’m one hundred percent sure of that. I made friends for life. At the golf club, I always met people of all ages and they never treated me differently.
In my environment, I matured and grew. Golf has also made me polite to others”. Tom radiates gratitude: to his parents, Tim and Jayne, for helping him through tough times, through and through the pain, the anxiety of not being able to get up properly, the bullying and the cycle of no end of operations, rehabilitation, operations, etc. ; to his younger sister Molly who helped him fill the voids of his childhood; to consultant Mr. Bradish and his team who expertly worked on Tom’s feet to give him the chance to participate in daily activities; to his first golf coach, Glenn Williams, who fully included him in the junior courses respecting what he could and could not do; to England golf coach for the disabled Craig Thomas.
Craig challenged Tom with questions he had never been asked before and helped him improve his game a lot. Many of Tom’s friends – including the companions who pushed him into the wheelchair at the time from school – are now starting to play golf.
“Over the past four or five years, a lot of my friends from school and college who have played football, rugby, basketball, have been texting me saying, ‘Where do you play? I want to start playing golf.” Thanks to his sympathy, Tom has already convinced many acquaintances to try golf, in addition to being an inspiration to those who have his pathology.
Tom lives a busy life with an almost invisible physical problem. Many people he interacts with are totally unaware of this. He says that sometimes someone, seeing him uncertain and in difficulty during certain movements, asks him: “Are you okay? You’re a little young to have leg problems.” In his simple, straightforward manner, Tom replies, “Well, yes. I only have a few problems with my feet”.