The Impact of Boccia on my Life Amy Darlow, a boccia player from Sheffield, describes her boccia journey so far and tells us how the game has given her confidence and independence, which have helped her in all aspects of her life. I started playing boccia in 2013 at Portland College in Nottinghamshire, to get out of my room and to give me something to do. I enjoyed it straight away. I began as a BC1 player, was reclassified as a BC2 for a couple of years, then reclassified again as a BC5 in early 2020. When I returned home from Portland, I wanted to carry on with boccia and that’s when I started to train as part of Boccia Sheffield. I am now also a member of the Knights Academy, part of Boccia England’s talent pathway, and I train on my own with support from my PAs at my local leisure centre. I love boccia because it allows me to make new friends, travel around the country and see new places all while playing a game that I really enjoy. Through playing boccia I have made lots of new friends some of whom are now my closest. It has given me lots of opportunities to travel around the country, all the way north to Stirling in Scotland and as far south as Brighton. Being involved in a sport that brings this much fun is great, I love it! Before I started playing boccia I was a very quiet, shy person and I didn’t like to go away without my family. Now I enjoy traveling and going to competitions independently, with support from my PA. I believe that boccia has helped me gain a new-found confidence to be able to do these things on my own. I even went and got a volunteering job on a reception desk at the local sports hall which involved greeting customers and answering the phone, something which still amazes me to this day. When my Nana was alive, she always said she would love to see me playing boccia in the Paralympics on the telly! I would love to get that far in my career, who wouldn’t? But my short-term goals are to keep progressing through the talent pathway and entering and competing in as many competitions as possible. So far, I’ve managed to play in the Special Olympics Anniversary games 2018 and came away with gold and silver medals. I compete in all Boccia England’s competitions – BE Cup and Teams and Pairs. I’m also in one of the Super League teams. I love going to all the competitions especially when my team mates are also attending, it feels like a big family, a big boccia family! Even when it’s a singles competition everyone is great, you will always know someone there, it’s just one big community. I hope that one day soon, after Covid-19, we can get back to where we were before. I miss playing the game and I miss my boccia family.