The Secret Deafie: The day I was sworn at… without knowing it

Posted on April 10, 2012

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about the day he was verbally abused… without knowing it.

A few years ago, when my children were young, I managed the youth football teams they played in.

This meant that every Saturday morning I’d take the kit, nets, corner flags and footballs in my car boot to the football pitches they played on, to set everything up.

Where we lived was one of the highest points in the country, and as a result it would often be very windy during the winter.

One Saturday, the winds were blowing so strongly that during the pre-match warm up, the boys struggled to kick the ball towards the goal, because it would blow back at them before hitting the net!

After ten minutes of chaotic play, the game was called off, and the referee duly blew the whistle, with both teams trudging away.

Before I could leave, I had to get up on the step-ladder and unhook the nets, before putting everything back in the car.

As I took the net down, I remember a few people standing around, but it was so windy that all I could hear through my hearing aids was the roar of the air rushing into them.

So I was surprised that night to get a phone call from the manager of the opposing team, who sounded very hesitant. He ended up apologising to me. I had no idea what he was speaking about.

“The woman…” he said. “She offended you.”

I was still none the wiser, but he went on to say that the mother of one of the players on their team had shouted at me.

At the next training session, I spoke to one of the parents for the players on our side, and eventually he told me he’d heard everything she said, but hadn’t wanted to tell me in case I got angry with her (!)

Apparently, as I was taking down the nets, standing up on the step-ladder facing the raging wind, a woman was effing and blinding away at me, complaining that the match had been played at all, while I calmly ignored her!

I must have looked zen-like, as though I wouldn’t allow her to distract me from my job. Perhaps the fact I didn’t respond made her even angrier.

The moral of the story is, if you’re going to shout at a hearing-aid user in a gale, make sure the wind is behind them, or they’ll have no idea what you’re saying.

Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email

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