Silence and Sunset on South 1st

The sun goes down on TSD\'s homecoming game

The sun goes down on TSD's homecoming game

Life is full of distractions, competing priorities, places to go and people to see, general noise. And so it was late this morning that I found myself going into the Texas School for the Deaf on S 1st St. It was Homecoming day and the school was open with tours, booths and later the Homecoming football game.

Since I live up the street it seemed like a good reason to go visit. $7 entry fee, $1 for the program, was good deal. What happened next both challenged, surprised and pleased me. As I strolled along the various booths, there were people everywhere. Normally this sort of affair would feel oppressive, noise everywhere, music blasting out, children screaming, parents yelling and more. Not here, almost total silence. The sound of a generator running, but not much else, yet everywhere their were people having animated discussions and having fun. It was invigorating, inspirational.

I returned later to watch the Homecoming football game, I’ll readily admit I don’t get home coming at all. My generation(in the UK) didn’t have graduation, homecoming, or for that matter Halloween. It was watching the game I found myself really challenged. American Football which I do understand, but have never played, is indeed a game of sound. Here though, while there was some noise from the crowd, the sounds were primarily the crunch of players colliding and of referees whistles. Despite the large crowds on both sides of the field, and cheerleaders, yet again everything was conducted in near silence. Watching the coaches and players though made me realize what a challenge being deaf must be.

The players on both sides were disciplined, perhaps more so than those with hearing. The slightest gesture, the instructions, the calls, all demanded total concentration. Only a few times did the game go on past the referee calling a play dead, mostly those plays whistled dead before the snap. Fascinating. Unfortunately, while I might not know much about homecoming, I could guess that it wasn’t the way Texas School for the Deaf would have wanted, by half time they were losing 24-0 to Maryland School for the Deaf. As I left about 6-minutes into the 2nd half, Maryland had scored again.

However, I left with a new respect and understanding for the challenges faced by the deaf, and having seen what a great campus, and community that support it.

[Edit: Thanks to SukiFuller for the corrections, Homecoming eh… who’da thought?]

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