As some of you folks might know, I am an avid sports fanatic. I love sports of all kinds and I usually participate in various of sports along with other deaf individuals. But it was kind of funny, I run a site for a particular sport, (and there was even a discussion about this in Facebook for another sport). Well one of the discussion was based on how we keep changing the rules every year to benefit “US”. Now that “US” really annoys me, keep in mind these are deaf people voting and modifying the rules here. Well point being is for softball there are a few associations like the National Softball Association (NSA), Amatuer Softball Association (ASA), and United Sports (something – USSSA).
We have governing associations which we could abide by and follow. Just say okay we will be following USSSA rules and just follow it. But do we do that, no what we do is we say we will play by USSSA rules – modified. (Modified to FIT us and our needs). Now off to another sport – Golf – there is a sport USGA – United States Golf Association. Simple follow the rules and play. But no, we as deaf individuals want to modify the game to our needs. Now going to both sports – I can’t tell you how many hours I have SAT in a meeting watching them argue and debate on how the rules were going to be made. Which is ridiculous! We already have set rules just follow it and be on your way and enjoy the game.
Now here is what bothers me – we always say “We are Deaf, nothing else” We can do everything hearing people can do but just can’t hear. Okay if that is the case then why do we HAVE to suggest to change the rules all the time? Why do we even have to modify it? Why can’t we just play along the rules and just enjoy ourselves. Well I’ll tell you why – is because we don’t think of ourselves up to the level as hearing people. For as long as we keep doing this we will always be looked at as “You CAN’T” because we can’t play by the rules like hearing folks.
Now this is from a sports perspective – now lets go into reality. One of the major problems are we as deaf individuals, and parents (not all parents but some who I have encountered). They reinforce our behavior – they reinforce our feeling of needs of being able to do things differently. When we have parents who feel bad for their deaf child because the child can’t hear then they overcompensate the child by modifying things then the child learns to live in a modified world where everything is changed but not the same as hearing folks. Granted we do have needs – accessibility needs. But I’m talking about in real life – if we are provided an interpreter in a classroom then we should be able to do everything a hearing child can do. But when we are put in an expectation that we can’t perform in the level of a hearing child then that is the result, we end up performing to the expectation of what they expect not being able to perform to the level. Or I have met some parents who let their child behave in such way that would not be respectful or toleratable in public and I inquire about it and they are like well he is deaf and so we can’t get through him. So its like “Hey come on! You treat that child just like you would with a hearing child and expect respect and proper behavior” Communicate with the child don’t just sit there and think well my child is deaf and he/she doesn’t listen to me. Some of us were fortunate to have parents to raise us with high expectations and expect the most out of us. But then there are some who don’t have that expectation so as a result the child fails. And when the child is not able to play by the rules he/she will grow up expecting the rules to be changed for him/her because the expectation level is lower. It is time for us to make that change! Start with us, the adults – start playing by the rules and PROVE a POINT we as deaf individuals DO NOT need the rules to be changed! So it all starts with YOU!