OPINION: Deaf football teams deserve a salute

Eric Miller | Online Sports Editor

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When I step on a football field and hear the referee’s whistle or the quarterback’s cadence, I don’t think anything of it. Some players have never heard the roar of the crowd or even the sound of their own voice, but they still find a way to succeed on the gridiron.

The California School for the Deaf isn’t your average high school football team by any stretch of the imagination. Their entire team is either deaf or hard of hearing, including their head coach Warren Keller. The Eagles who play in Fremont California will play ten games in their 2015 regular season. How many of those will be against other all-deaf teams? Three. The Eagles will play just three games against other schools who cannot hear. The other seven? The Eagles will play a regular schedule like any other varsity football team.

In their season opener, the Eagles traveled to play Western Sierra Collegiate Academy: a team that can hear perfectly fine. The final score was 51-6, in favor of the California School for the Deaf. The Eagles are 3-1 this year against hearing teams, which is the most impressive thing I’ve heard all week. Playing the game of the football and being fully capable of hearing is demanding enough; but imagine being on the field, and you can’t hear a thing. You can’t hear the defense audibling. You can’t hear the referee warning you to stop holding; you just see the yellow flag on the field. Take a minute to think about how difficult it would be to play the game of football and hear nothing but your own thoughts. It will give you a whole new respect for what they do on a daily basis.

It’s with this that I salute the California School for the Deaf and deaf football teams all around this great nation. You give all of us hope that anything can be accomplished. What you do each and every season shows why everybody deserves a chance to play the great game of football.

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