A Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm
November 21, 2021 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Underdogs no more. No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore. This season, they are undefeated — the highest-ranked team in their Southern California division. Through 11 games, they have not so much beaten their opponents as flattened them.

Many players and staff use the word loneliness to describe how they felt in mainstream settings, surrounded by people yet isolated. And teachers and parents recount how students blossomed in an all-deaf environment.

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posted by Toddles (5 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Many teams try to use hand signals to call in plays, but they are no match for the Cubs, who communicate with a flurry of hand movements between each play. No time is wasted by players running to the sidelines to get an earful from the coaching staff. No huddle is needed.
Ironically, the football huddle was invented by a deaf team:
In 1894, the Gallaudet football team was playing against another deaf team. Paul Hubbard, the quarterback didn't want to risk the other team seeing him using ASL to explain the play to his teammates, so he asked them to form a tight circle formation, now known as a huddle.
posted by clawsoon at 10:07 AM on November 21 [13 favorites]

I had heard the referee signals were originally for deaf players, but apparently they were developed for spectators.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:32 AM on November 21

Thanks for this post—what an uplifting story!
posted by newdaddy at 11:07 AM on November 21

FYI, they won again Friday night. Judging by the score, it must have been a real barn burner!
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:47 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]

Being able to communicate a broad variety of meanings visually is such a versatile superpower. A friend's parents used exaggerated ASL to "shout" in situations where actual shouting was impractical due to background noise or just sheer distance - SO useful. I remember once they were able to tell each other full sentences across a lake. No chance of hearing each other yell from that far, and this was before cell phones were a thing people had, but they could squint and see signs well enough to get meaning across. I'm glad these kids are athletic enough to be able to exploit this advantage for all it's worth! Good for them.
posted by potrzebie at 12:50 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]

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