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Monday, December 6, 2021

The Deaf Football Team Brings Pride to the Riverside Community

RIVERSIDE, California. From time to time, a story comes up that prompts the reporter to drop everything, cancel appointments, forget about the weekend, say goodbye to family members – and rush.

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

After a long string of losing seasons, the football team remained invincible and for the first time in the history of the school fought for the championship in the division. An article I wrote about the team known as the Cubs was posted this week.

When I arrived on campus, the energetic headmaster Nancy Hlibok Amann kindly gave me a tour. Through a sign language interpreter, she told me about the team coach.

“He has pigskin blood,” she said of Coach Keith Adams.

That evening, Coach Adams and his players beat their opponents in the second round of the playoffs. The one-sided result did not come as a surprise. Over the course of the regular season, the Cubs surpassed their opponents, 642-156, uplifting the spirits of a community hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, I accompanied players and coaches to an NFL game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings, where the stadium announcers celebrated the Cubs’ victories. Dressed in red jerseys, they watched as their faces were displayed on a huge video board. Friends wrote that they saw them on TV.

There are many explanations as to why the team is doing so well this year – a certain group of players are very talented, agile and disciplined. And the athletes are playing hard.

“I love fitness, hitting hard and tackling the ball,” said Tevin Adams, the team’s quarterback. He is also the son of a coach.

But what struck me the most was how comfortable and confident the players felt together as a deaf team with deaf coaches. It was their world on their terms.

When they were younger and played in the major leagues, they were often thrown into a trap because the position required less communication. Now they played in the position that suited them best.

“They have a special bond, chemistry,” Amann told me. “They can read each other.”

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I asked Laura Edwards, the school’s athletics supervisor, about the long-standing debate about whether Deaf children should attend regular or Deaf schools.

Edwards is deaf and was born into a hearing family. She told me that she recently brought an interpreter to the family meeting because she wanted to record as many conversations as possible.

“When I was growing up deaf, I never went to school for the deaf,” Edwards told me. “It wasn’t easy making friends. It was very lonely. “

On the Riverside campus, Edwards says he is watching deaf students who have graduated from mainstream schools flourish. “The communication barrier has been removed and there is inclusion and social interaction.”

“Our student athletes are like any other listening student in terms of physical and mental ability and athletic talents,” she later wrote to me. “The only difference is they are deaf.”

Edwards noted that she capitalized the word “deaf”.

“This is not a typo,” she said. “We have our own culture.”

Thomas Fuller is bureau chief for The New York Times in San Francisco.


300 minutes of moderate exercise per week can help prevent cancer.


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

The bridge, built in 1862 for transportation from the northern mines, was closed in 2011 for security reasons. Thanks to a very active group of local residents (SOB: Save Our Bridge), which raised money and lobbied in the Legislature to fund the restoration of the bridge, on November 4, 2021, the bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic. The bridge is the world’s longest single-span timber-roofed bridge. Its preservation is a wonderful legacy for many future generations.

In summer, small children play in the water on the sandy beach just downstream. Any time of the year is a good time to hike the Buttermilk Trail (which follows the path of the old water ditch) upstream or the loop of the Point Defiance Trail downstream, with river views around each turn.

Tell us about your favorite places in California. Send your suggestions to [email protected] We will explain more in the next editions of the newsletter.


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