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Deaf football team makes Riverside community proud

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Deaf football team makes Riverside community proud

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Sometimes a story unfolds that prompts a reporter to drop everything, cancel appointments, forget the notion of a weekend, say goodbye to family members, and dash off.

For me that story was about a high school football team. Last week, I drove seven hours from my home in the East Bay to the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. I was not disappointed.

After a long string of losing seasons, the football team was undefeated and, for the first time in the school’s history, competed for the division championship. An article I wrote about the team, known as the Cubs, was published this week.

When I arrived on campus, the school’s enthusiastic superintendent, Nancy Halibok Aman, graciously gave me a tour. Through a sign language interpreter he told me about the coach of the team.

“His blood runs pigskin,” she said of coach Keith Adams.

That evening, Coach Adams and his players overcame their opponents in the second round of the playoffs. The one-sided result was not surprising. The Cubs beat their opponents 642-156 during the regular season, lifting the spirits of a community hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday I accompanied players and coaches to an NFL game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings, where stadium announcers celebrated the Cubs’ victory. Wearing his red jersey, he saw their faces appearing on the giant videoboard. Friends texted to say they saw him on television.

There are many explanations for why the team is doing so well this year – the particular group of players is very talented, quick and disciplined. And athletes work hard.

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“I like to be physical, hard hits and tackles,” said team quarterback Tevin Adams. He is also the coach’s son.

But what struck me the most was how comfortable and confident the players seemed to put together a deaf team with deaf coaches. It was his world on his terms.

When they were younger and played in auditory leagues, they were often placed with nose tackles because the position required less communication. Now he played what he liked best.

Aman told me, “There is a very special bond between them, there is a chemistry.” “They are able to read each other.”

I asked Laura Edwards, athletics supervisor at the school, about the long-running debate about whether deaf children should attend mainstream institutions or all-deaf schools.

Edwards is deaf and was born into a hard of hearing family. She told me that she recently brought an interpreter to a family gathering because she wanted to capture as much conversation as possible.

“Growing up as a deaf person, I never went to a deaf school,” Edwards told me. “It was a struggle to make friends. It was very lonely. ,

On the Riverside campus, Edwards says she sees deaf students who transfer from mainstream institutions. “The communication barrier is gone and so is inclusion and social interaction.”

“Our student athletes are equal to any other listening students in terms of physical and mental prowess and athletic talent,” she wrote to me later. “The only difference is that they are deaf.”

Edwards noted that he capitalized the word “deaf”.

“It’s not a typo,” she said. “We have our own culture.”

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Thomas Fuller is the San Francisco bureau chief of The New York Times.


Getting 300 minutes of moderate exercise a week may help protect against cancer.


Today’s travel tip comes from June Obersdorfer, who recommends the newly restored Covered Bridge at South Yuba River State Park in Nevada County:

The bridge, built in 1862 for transport to and from the northern mines, was closed in 2011 for security reasons. Due to a very active local citizens’ group (SOB: Save Our Bridge), which raised money and lobbied the legislature for funds to restore the bridge, it reopened to pedestrians on November 4, 2021. Gaya. This bridge is the longest surviving, wooden covered bridge in the world. Its preservation is a wonderful heritage for many future generations.

In summer, young children play in the water along the sandy beach below. Any time of year is a good time to hike the Buttermilk Bend Trail (which follows the path of an old water supply ditch) upstream or the Point Defense Trail loop downstream, with views of the river around each curve. with.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions at [email protected] We will share more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.


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