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Deaf Basketball Team’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Submitted by on March 6, 2011 – 8:51 amOne Comment

For most fans, when we think of basketball we think of a game of synchronized skills, timing, precision, and communication. Communication, mainly audible communication, is a very crucial part of the game of basketball. With that in mind, one would think of a full basketball team of deaf or hard of hearing players as severely disadvantaged and without much chance of success.

Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf located in Washington, D.C., provides for us an example of the type of extreme obstacles a group can overcome when united for a common goal or purpose. The team is in the midst of a historic season, complete with a 20-1 record, just years after losing every game against their conference opponents, including an embarrassing 75-point defeat.

Using nonverbal communication, the Lady Bison are now eyeing a national championship in Division-III basketball where they are ranked No. 18. However, they aren’t the only ones who have had to overcome obstacles. Their coach had to overcome one, too. Prior to taking the coaching job at Gallaudet, Kevin Cook had not learned or needed to use sign language—a prerequisite to coach the Lady Bison.

Cook now runs practices completely in sign language and speaks to his team using a sign language translator during games. The message is obviously sent, as the improvement has garnered the team national attention. The Lady Bison have been the subject of a number of news media stories and will be featured on ESPN’s College Gameday pre-game show on Saturday.

We hope to see these ladies make it all the way to the championship and wish them luck, as their triumph over unspeakable odds and adversity would arguably be the feel-good sports story of the year.

Source: ABC News

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