Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 40

A Deaf Football Team Sees a Way to Victory!

A story of teamwork and lessons on resiliency...

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

If it seems that good news is hard to come by nowadays, a deaf high school football team recently provided some. On Friday night, November 12, the Cubs—which is the name of the varsity football team of the California School of the Deaf in Riverside, California—soundly defeated the Desert Christian Knights, 84 to 12, in the second round of the playoffs.

As is often the case, sports are a haven in which those from minority backgrounds can shine. This time it was so for those with deafness.

But, you must be wondering: How would they hear and know what to do in a team sport when information has to be communicated and coordinated quickly, and often spontaneously? Wouldn’t that be an insurmountable obstacle for any sports team of the deaf?

And it was, at least until this year. After suffering years of humiliation and harassment, this year the football team took advantage of some of their unique strengths, including:

  • Basic American football athletic talent;
  • Closeness of the teammates;
  • Quickness of hand signal language, which, of course, can’t easily be understood by their non-hearing impaired opponents;
  • Enhanced ability to visually perceive the motion of players in the football field; and
  • Resilience developed from the losing seasons.

As any sports fan knows, you can be buoyed by the success of your favorite teams. Given that idea, individuals and communities of the deaf around the country may share the pride of victory.

The psychological lesson for all of us is that we can often overcome our limitations with determination, creativity, and community support. Your weakness can become your strength.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.