Basketball offers a new challenge for deaf at Bakersfield College
April 7, 2010
Filed under Features
Bakersfield College American Sign Language held its “Want to Play” second annual deaf community basketball tournament on March 20 at the BC gym.
The tournament consisted of eight teams and each had ASL BC students participating. Marykate Alderette, 20, speech and language pathology major, attended the event to do community service hours for her ASL class. “I have to attend deaf community services for class and this turned out to be really fun and kind of intimidating,” said Alderette. She understands most of the people who sign but has trouble signing back. “Playing basketball was interesting. You can’t talk, so it’s hard to communicate, but I think our team did pretty well at the end.”
The connection between BC ASL program and the deaf community is organized by Jeff Jackson, pastor of a deaf church in Bakersfield. He organizes the tournaments, in terms of bringing the teams together and making the announcements.
Tom Moran, professor of ASL, said “the idea is to expose the BC ASL students to the deaf community and an event like this is just one of many.” Events such as Starbucks coffee night, pizza night, deaf church, picnics, along with more events, are also held in order for students to use their sign language and meet members of the deaf community.
Teams were set up through the ASL classes and included both deaf and hearing people on the teams. There teams consisted of both female and male, and the rules of the game were explained in sign language at the beginning of the game. There was no rough play permitted and each team called their own fouls. Each team played 15 minutes and at the end, the two teams that had won all of their games played for first place.
Pam Davis, BC ASL professor, said that many students are a bit apprehensive when they attend deaf community events. “At first, students are very nervous to go into the deaf community and meet people, but once they meet a deaf person for the first time and actually sign, and they use their sign language skills they are learning in the classroom, they think it’s cool. It’s really inspiring, so getting students into deaf communities is the best thing we can do,” said Davis.
Deisy Gonzalez, 19, psychology major, enjoyed coming to play basketball but felt a sense of nervousness toward the beginning.
“I was nervous, but the deaf people playing with us were so nice that it made it easier and more comfortable to sign and communicate with them,” said Gonzalez.
Davis added that speaking or knowing how to communicate in more than one language has a lot of benefits.
“Intellectually, students that know more than one language may score higher on tests and have a better opportunity for jobs. They are more world oriented, in a sense that they are not ethnocentric, in a sense that they are only familiar with one language and one culture. Knowing more than one language gives you a chance to view things from other horizons and see different perspectives,” she said.