Standing all in red, a new football team with an undefeated season proves inclusivity can crash into the 2022 Super Bowl yard. As an all-deaf team, the California School for the Deaf in Riverside uses American Sign Language (ASL) to call the shots.
The team went undefeated for 12 consecutive games, achieving the best season in their program’s history. And it’s obvious that they’re not letting their differences hold them back. Their fluidity and cohesion are reflected in their ability to unite in the field. And where you’d normally see coaches yelling their plays from the sideline, that’s all ASL for the Riverside Cubs. And it’s beautiful to look at.
Breaking down barriers and writing history is their common thread. For the first time since the establishment of the California School for the Deaf, the Cubs’ varsity team won the division championship, earning them some well-deserved media attention. In December, they received $25,000 from The Kelly Clarkson Show so that they can renovate their field. According to ABC News, the NFL released a statement saying, “This courage has shown other football players and people across this country that the deaf community defies stereotypes, that anything can be achieved with hard work. and dedication.” In response, the NFL invited the team, along with other athletes who broke stereotypes, to join them on the grass during the 2022 Super Bowl. With a high-profile platform, the league is using this opportunity to show that discrimination and exclusion should have no place in sport. And this quest must continue.
These talented athletes not only inspire deaf children across the country, they inspire everyone. That no matter your situation, your differences or your handicaps, you always deserve a place at the table. Or in this case, a place in the field.