Deaf softball team working hard for national game in autumn

Teammates gather and check the signs used in the game.
(photo: http://www2.asahi.com/koshien/93/localnews/SEB201107080018.html)


July 8, 2011

The Deaf softball teammates aged from 27 to 72 were practicing in the ground in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture on the first Sunday of July.

They do not hear the cheer at all. They are use eye contact and sign language in the ground.

The team with 15 teammates including the manager participated in the 48th Kyushu Region Deaf Sports Meet" held in May, representing the prefecture, and winning the first victory.

They will compete at the National Deaf Sports Meet in Aichi Prefecture in autumn, aiming at getting into one of the best four teams for the victory.

YOSHIDA Takashi (27), a team captain and a center player, is from a Deaf family. He attended the School for the Deaf in the Saga City accompanied by mother since he was three years old.

At the age of five he saw the hearing children talking happily one another in the park, and noticed that something was different from himself whose first language is sign language.

Yoshida worked hard at the practice in the track and field team. The pistol was used for the starting signal in the track meet, and he was late by all means. He felt mortified many times; "I would be faster if I were hearing."

There was no baseball club in the school for the deaf even though Yoshida had actually wanted to play baseball for a long time. Father encouraged him to join the softball team five years ago. Yoshida is very happy that there are friends who chase the same white ball together though it is a little different from baseball.

Yoshida is serving as the Kyushu Block Director of the Japanese Deaf Softball Association. His dream is that softball will be added to the "Deaflympic Games" and participate in it.

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