Saturday, October 29, 2016

ESPN Silent Night Lights

Football again. Two in one day.

NFL might be diminishing but it's still quite strong elsewhere.

A few nights ago ESPN devoted the whole evening to a football team at California School for the Deaf in Fremont. This is in northern California. It has a little over 500 students. The other one is at Riverside. Their show is excellent. They had it on repeat all night long. There are aspects of the ESPN E-60 broadcast that are not present in this video. Their program had a newscaster set up describing the school and the school's athletic program along with other things going on there, accompanied by an ASL interpreter for deaf viewers. This video is different.

I tried to find videos but nothing matches so well as the original program. Their trailer for the show is worse. It is not informative, plays to emotion and it is cheezy with Simon & Garfunkle's "Sound of Silence as background.

Come on!

I watched a dozen or so. Most have to do with ESPN filming on site, on the football field, their practice and their games. This video is the best of the whole lot. This video introduces the players and the coaches. It describes their first five shutout games that perplexed their opponents and infuriated them. Nonplussed, they wondered, how could this be? Shut out like this and by such large spreads, and the players are deaf!

Their team is called the Eagles, (strangely, I haven't figured this out, other videos say "Talons) and these first five wins caused the players to believe they just have a chance at the playoffs. Then they took a few losses and their confidence sank. The players were forced to reconsider their inevitability, forced to reassess their whole team and to regroup. They had to rebuild their confidence.

This video has no sound. For the most part. This is not intended to submerge viewers into the deaf experience, rather, the reason is more prosaic. Copyrights. The video is 15 minutes. The song "Wishing Well" by DJ Nobody kicks in abruptly at 8:39 for just a few bars then ends again just as you begin to accept it. It's a rather good song. I listened to it elsewhere. Good choice.

I like this video quite a lot. The coach is the most difficult for me to understand. He signs rapidly in slapdash chopping fashion and in front of his face, not at his chest, fingers all over the place. But man, does he ever put up a great team. He is a very real coach. It's touching.

My favorite part of this whole video is not their wining streak, not their individual statements, their life stories, their brief descriptions of their experiences with hearing people, no, it's at the 9:50 mark where Zane Pedersen, the quarterback this year, says, "I didn't want to end my High School career like that." I burst out laughing. For some reason I found that insanely funny. While there is nothing actually funny about it. It still cracks me up.

1 comment:

ndspinelli said...

Our high school team played against the American School for the Deaf[Hartford] in football. They hiked the ball by using a large bass drum being banged along the sideline. Gave me a fucking headache.