A Note to the Coach
It's truly a thrill to sit in the stands and watch my child hit one out of the ball park, or wrestle an opponent to the mat, or tackle a running back. Even when it isn't a celebratory moment, the sounds of encouragement being yelled out by you, teammates, or fans during a critical moment create an aura of contagious excitement. They envelope the player with feelings of motivation and comradery. Every player on the team needs these enthusiastic signs of support, especially my child...even though he is deaf.
Although my child cannot hear you at the plate...on the mat... or from the field...please don't stop yelling for him! Yell for him and add some body language as well!! If you're silent, everyone (including the opposing team) will think 'no one cares about this guy.' Your behavior sends him an important message, and it presents a model for his teammates who will be wondering what's appropriate for their non-hearing teammate. If you're urging him on, they will, too. This creates an energy that's palpable, and a picture that tells a thousand words. My child will see this and he'll feel accepted and included as a valued member of the team... So don't let a player's deafness or hearing loss stop you from cheering him or her on. Show that you care, and know that you are making an impact that will affect this kid positively during the game, during the rest of the school day, and one that will even be felt and recalled positively all his or her life.
With high hopes,
A Parent in the bleachers,