Silvina Forrester is a force of nature. She would shake her head and deny it, but she has been the main driver behind the growth of Hockey ID in Argentina and her influence is extending across the Pan American region. She is also a firm advocate of the belief that life is what you make it.
As someone with a daughter with an intellectual disability (ID), Silvina was determined that her daughter would have an opportunity to enjoy the sport synonymous with Argentina. Silvina started the Hockey ID movement at Belgrano Hockey Club in 2017 and the group has gone from strength to strength over the past four years, even despite the difficulties presented by Covid-19 in the past two years.
Her efforts were recognised when the video she produced was voted a winner at a prestigious international awards event – the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs International Audio Video competition – that took place in Milan, Italy. The winning video, which took weeks of planning, preparation and production before Silvina was happy with the final cut, demonstrated and celebrated the work of Las Lionas Hockey ID Foundation – an organisation of which she is president.
While the award was headline news, the creation of the video was just one tiny aspect of the work of Silvina and her volunteers and helpers. Her group has risen in number from 40 to 120 and, as well as weekly training sessions, 60 participants and parents went away for a weekend camp together.
Silvina explains that she was visiting a friend who owned some cabins on a beach and when she talked about wanting to take the Hockey ID participants away, the friend immediately offered use of her holiday cabins.
“It was wonderful to share a weekend together,” said Silvina. “Not only is it really beneficial to the participants, but the parents had time to talk to each other – that is so important for them.
‘One of the parents said to me that her son had been on a rugby tour with his team but they couldn’t believe it when their daughter was able to go on a hockey tour. It is something that just gives all the participants such a sense of belonging.”
The reaction to the Hockey ID group has been heart-warming and generous. Just two examples of many acts of generosity inlcude: the government-run railway service transported the group for their training camp; and a businessman responded to a plea for money for kit and bought the group playing shirts.
Silvina has a simple philosophy when it comes to developing Hockey ID: “If you are prepared to walk, then the world changes.” And her hopes for the future is to see a team from Argentina at the next Special Olympics. Given the achievements of this force of nature so far, it will be no surprise to see the blue and white shirts lining up in Berlin in 2023.