Hamish is helping a mechanic friend do up a Ford Thunderbird for her father. They plan on taking the car for a three-day ‘test drive’ down to Wellington and back when they have finished and are both able to take the time off work. Having only been to Wellington once before, he is quite excited about this planned get-away.
But it’s just one small part of an eventful life.
As a student at high school, Hamish took part in two under-16 athletic meets. In his first meet, he competed in both sprinting and swimming races, excelling at the shorter distance sprints. The next meet was held in Rarotonga, and at the age of 15 it was his first time out of the country. Hamish told his mother to only enter him into the 50m, 100m and 400m sprints. He went on to win all three races, taking home medals for his efforts. What made it all the more impressive – he did it without wearing shoes. “Shoes just slow you down,” he says. He also claimed second in the swimming events.
However, that would be the last time he competed, as he became too old to participate and didn’t think he was the right fit for other competitions.At about the age of 20, Hamish left the nest and moved to Hamilton due to there being more job opportunities. It didn’t take him long to make friends, eventually flatting with a few.Hamish has now truly settled into life in Hamilton. He has lived in an apartment by himself for the last four years and worked in a café for a about 2 ½ years.Working five days a week as a kitchen hand keeps him out of the house and gives him money to pay for his flat and living expenses. His cafe roles include washing dishes and helping pack a range of goods that his café sells, such as cheeses and dried meats.
The café works like a big family that Hamish enjoys being part of. “No job can be perfect, but at least I’ve got a job.”
Unable to drive, Hamish walks everywhere. Nor has he completely given up on running or playing sports. Every Thursday night he takes part in a social basketball competition, playing for the Blazers. Trying to follow in the steps of his NBA heroes, such as Michael Jordan and Denis Rodman, Hamish is a blur of orange as he sprints up and down the court looking for a chance to steal the ball or block a shot. He loves playing defence, but is starting to work on his shooting too.
When he is not working or blocking shots, Hamish likes to wind down at home. Come a big rugby game like the All Blacks against Ireland this year, Hamish stocks the fridge with food and beer.
“Why go to the game, where you have to wait in line and pay lots for food and drinks, when you could just stay at home and watch it from the comfort of your own seat with the fridge only a few steps away?”Hamish also loves to play computer and PlayStation games, with Assassins Creed his favourite PlayStation3 series.World of Warcraft is another game Hamish holds dear. With “too many characters to count”, he has one to suit every occasion. In fact, he just started a new character recently in order to complete a quest to ‘buy new armour’. Being part of a guild, he enjoys the company of like-minded people, without being judged.
Every second week, a group of Hamish’s friends like to get together and hang out, playing ten pin bowling or going to a pool club. He also likes to get out of the house every Sunday and especially likes to go to the movies when something takes his fancy.
With all the great accomplishments and dramas in his life, Hamish is just like you or me. What most people don’t realise is that he has mild cerebral palsy and autism, and that’s what makes him so interesting.