You might think the California School for the Deaf is at a disadvantage against prep football rivals who can hear, but they don’t look at it that way.
On Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2015, ESPN’s “E:60” magazine-style show will profile the Eagles’ progress as a program, as seen in the trailer above. If the segment is half as good as the above trailer, it’ll be worth a look.
The playbooks, the signals, the film study, the weight training, none of it excludes the Eagles. Plus, they’ve got something their opponents don’t — a chip on their shoulder.
It’s like athletic director Kevin Kovacs said when Sports Illustrated profiled the Eagles in 2012:
“I remember growing up I often wanted to play out on the playground, and I would often be excluded or not given the opportunity to play first. Maybe some other kids would be chosen ahead of me or for whatever reasons, and I feel that they didn’t respect me as a person — as a deaf person — so with that I sometimes feel as an athlete I’m always saying, ‘Come on, it’s me against the world,’ sometimes, but it makes me more focused and more intense. Driven. I want to win. I’m here now, and I’m here to make a statement and show that I can play, I can compete, and I can do whatever you try to do. So, maybe some deaf kids here feel that same way.”
Since last the nation saw the California School for the Deaf, they have twice reached the California Interscholastic Federation’s Division 5 North Coast Section tournament. The Eagles are 3-1 against in-state competition this season and 3-3 overall. Two of those three losses came against schools for the deaf in Texas and Florida, another reminder deaf student-athletes are not to be overlooked.
Surely, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman — the first deaf person ever to play offense in the NFL — serves as inspiration after starring at UCLA and winning a Super Bowl in 2014. “I think everybody has a unique story,” Coleman told the NFL Network, “and this just happens to be mine.”
“Being different, to me, is a good thing,” Coleman told the NFL Network. “You don’t want to be the same as everybody else. I wouldn’t be the type of person I am today if I had my hearing. I’d be somebody completely different, and I like the type of person I am today.”