All-deaf high school football team goes undefeated
The California School for the Deaf, Riverside’s Cubs go 11–0.
The California School for the Deaf, Riverside’s Varsity football team, the Cubs, is undefeated and the highest ranking team in their Southern California Division, according to Men’s Health. They are currently 11 and 0 in this season, and have won each game by multiple touchdowns, according to NBC Los Angeles. Communication between all the coaches, plates and other staff members is through American Sign Language.
Christian Jimenez, a junior on the team that plays several different positions said to NBC, “I never feel like I’m disabled. I feel like I’m a normal player just like anyone else can do anything except hear.” Jimenez also said that they not only communicate through American Sign Language, but by reading peoples’ faces. For example, they know when the coach is yelling or if they are making a mistake based on his facial expression.
Coach Keith Adams told NBC that the speed of his signing is important so he is able to let his players know things as quickly as you would have been able to say it. In addition to that, when signing, he uses faster signs, more direct signs instead of being more “lackadaisical.” The coach knew that he had a good team but never imagined the 11 and 0 record. “Honestly it gives me goosebumps,” Adams said to NBC.
Player Tevin Adams, the coach's son, says that their team's silence is actually an advantage. He said to NBC, “Hearing people don’t use their eyes as much, they use their ears for communication. We use our eyes. We are much more alert. We can see what is going on in different spots. We can read the other team’s plays, so we are definitely more alert than a hearing team is.”
According to Men’s Health, the team is two games away from capturing the division championship for the first time in the school’s 68 year history. Men’s Health reported that the success of this team is not only about football, but goes beyond the sport and it shows how in mainstream settings, deaf children often experience isolation but in an all deaf environment these students flourish.