Saturday, February 16, 2008
My younger days... the only deaf swimmer on the team
I have been been swimming in the water since I was very young and been on many swim teams over the years all the way up to my 30's. Back in the 60's and 70's when I was on various swim teams, during swim meets, I had one disadvantage that other swimmers had that I didn't was to hear the "starter". They were able to dive off the block before I could react so I was always last in the water. During the 3 year period that I was in my highest peak in swimming by coming in "first" in many events for butterfly and freestyle. I wonder what my "timings" would be if I started at the same time against other swimmers? Would I have been ahead of them like Mark Spitz did in the Olympics?
This is one of those I keep thinking and wondering "what if". LOL Believe me, I have alot of those. Today, swimming pools now have the technologies for the deaf who is able to start at the same time as "hearing" swimmers. I wished I had that when I was younger. I believed my best "time" for 50 meter freestyle was under 26 seconds and that was with "late start from the block". I can't remember my other times like my IMs and Butterflies. If I started at the same time, it would have been 24 or 25 seconds (I think).
Oh speaking of sports and I started attending my local public school (hometown)when I as about 12 years old which I was the only deaf student in the entire class. I played football when I was younger (in early 1970's) during my junior high school days but I gave up because the coaches didn't want me to play because I could not hear. All I asked for is play on the defense which was a no brainer. So, instead, I played soccer and I did well in that sport. In high school, I was the only freshman who made on the varsity soccer team and I was thankful for the coach to give me an opportunity. He was a tough coach and treated me like other players. Whenever I messed up, I get yelled at like he did with my teammates. I will always respected him for that. I considered me "able" regardless of my hearing loss. I wished there were more coaches like him during my younger days.
The deaf youth have it made over the years and didn't experienced as much as I did when I was younger. I am praying that this will continue to change over the years for the better. I am saying this for all disabilities, not just deafness.