How to Get Involved

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For the hearing-impaired and supporters of their causes, it is easy to get involved. No one has to miss out on the many ways to participate.  One way is to join in the efforts to promote hearing-challenged sports in Australia. It is a mouse click away. For example, Deaf Sports Australia has an easy-to-navigate website with a complete calendar of events and ways to donate. Involvement can also take the form of signing up to play on a team, becoming a coach, or helping manage an organization or event. Sitting on the board is another possibility while fund-raising volunteers are, of course, always welcome. The more local communities get on board, the greater the reach of deaf sports will be.

Choosing Deaf Sports Australia puts you in the same notable league as many athletic promoters. Everyone knows and acknowledges the importance of sports for the hearing and non-hearing alike. The universal benefits are legion in terms of self-esteem, physical and mental fitness, and team ethics. More education about deaf sports, in particular, has put the subject on a large playing field worldwide. It is no longer a rare privilege but a major outlet sought by many. Recruitment on all levels is an on-going enterprise. With the deaf games coming up in Adelaide in 2016, getting involved is more important than ever.

For those whose passion is basketball, they can turn to the Deaf Basketball Australia organization for guidance. The thrill of the game is very available to spectators and players alike. The non-hearing community has its own independent groups to facilitate involvement; and in Australia, they are active and all-encompassing.  They offer different ways to enjoy your favorite sport.

Athletes have the option of exclusively deaf category games or mainstream sporting venues. Different rules apply as established by international committees and a good knowledge of them will prepare candidates for eligibility. Officials are also in demand and must similarly acquaint themselves with relevant regulations (including the degree of one’s hearing disability). Apart from this, all it takes is a love of the game and some free time. (There may be age restrictions for specific events in the categories of junior and youth.) Application forms are usually required with in-depth information elicited to ensure fair participation in a given sport.

Hearing loss athletes can choose from golf, tennis, lawn bowling, basketball, touch football, soccer, and many more games. Every level is available including preliminary training. The parent organization oversees many smaller regional ones to help promote uniform values and shared ethical concerns. An open policy to involvement is professed. Thus, those attracted to deaf sports can find an outlet for their particular level of interest from town and city home games to international tournaments.

Deaf Sports Australia has a long history since 1894 and they have parlayed their experience well, now offering an enormous array of services for the direct benefit of members. Joining is the first step in supporting the organization at the root level and helping its mission flourish.

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Sports and Weight

Most professional basketball players are certainly tall. Everyone can see that. They are often lanky with long legs, as if they were walking on stilts, letting them soar to great heights when the right time comes to make the perfect basket. Hoops is a fast game for the agile. Their jumping has to transcend the norm. Laggards never make it on the team. This means overweight bodies are to be avoided at all costs. However, some bulk and muscle is needed to play defense and strong offense. Professional players manage their weight very carefully using accurate digital scales and body fat analyzer devices.

Since height helps, I doubt whether the locker room scales get much use in amateur circles. This is certainly not the case at the boxing gym. Those scales come in very handy before bouts to make sure that every contender is safely within the prescribed zone of competition. You can be too fat in either of these endeavors. Ali was pure unadulterated muscle.

If you lean naturally to the plumper side, wrestling may be the right sport for you. A lot of weight can be an asset and I am sure that the champions do not turn away food at any time. With their enormous heft, they look like they indulge every craving. Every athlete needs to eat well to have enough energy to perform, but some sports take more calories to provide the perfect boost at crunch time.

Runners are thin as reeds. Milers and long-distance participants alike burn fat with every lengthy step. You have to stay thin to move like the wind, but then again you don’t want to get blown away metaphorically. Muscles are long and lean like those of dancers. The latter, by the way, although really performers, are athletes of the highest caliber. There is not an ounce of body fat anywhere to be seen (and in their outfits, you see it all). Male ballet dancers have to lift the ladies. They are perhaps light on their feet, but pound per pound based on their dense muscle weight, they are not easy to throw around. All kinds of tricks of the trade are used to balance them.

Soccer players seem to be average in size, but when it comes to baseball and football, they seem to pork up. Football most of all, considering the girth of tackles and ends. Okay, the quarterback has to move with weightless speed, but many other team members use pure bulk to achieve their goals. I think weight also does not impede hockey players. The heftiest of them can glide like figure and speed skaters.

Unconsciously, people take up a sport that suits their body type. If they are a diehard wannabe, they will get in the right shape for their first choice. If they don’t fit the image, they may have to make concessions. It seems to come down to a mixture of genetics and will power. Minding what you eat and how it affects your weight, good and bad, is the key. Some puny guys actually need to pack on the pounds to compete. It isn’t a strict science. Find out the guidelines for your sport, match your height and age, and see what is ideal. Set a timetable to get there, and go out and fight!

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The 2016 Australian Deaf Games

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Mark your calendars and book your early bird airfare. The Australian Deaf Games area more than a year away in January of 2016, but they are already in the news as the athletes and volunteers get ready. They come every three to four years (last in 2012 in Geelong) and are a landmark event for hearing and non-hearing alike who enjoy the amiable competition and team spirit. Kym Jacobs, the Chairperson, promises an exciting world class program.

Applicants are already lining up for the fourteen stated games that include basketball, golf, cricket, netball, squash, swimming, tennis, touch football, bowling, darts, rugby, and beach volleyball. There is virtually something for everyone. The hearing-impaired have had Deaflympics and the Special Olympics for some time with their own rules and regulations, of course; but Deaf Sports Australia and its offshoots offer a local platform to develop skills and experience along the way. They are a huge boost to patriotism and national pride and have put Australia in the center of the deaf sports map.

The South Australian tourist Commission is reporting Adelaide’s enthusiasm for hosting the Deaf Games—the pinnacle of the country’s special sporting events. The beautiful coastal city of Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and home to over 1.2 million (it is the fifth largest city). A thousand athletes are expected to join hands in promoting games for the non-hearing in a true national competition format. Not limited to a local following, the 2016 program will garner spectators from around the world. Volunteers and officials are currently making their plans. Hotels are gearing up as are planners for the lively opening and closing ceremonies. These are always spectacular crowd-pleasing shows.

The games are a major coup for the deaf community that looks forward to the eight days of roaring competition. Cricket and basketball are popular favorites, but they all have a legion of fans. A full festival atmosphere will be the icing on the athletic cake. Adelaide offers fine amenities and holiday sightseeing delights to add to the carnival aura.  There will be a games village and plenty of family diversion in store. New experiences will no doubt mark the 17th annual event. What better way to spend a lovely vacation.

Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Hobart, and Canberra have also been venues. Adelaide will put its own stamp on the proceedings as the entire city joins in the celebration of deaf sports. Specific locations will be announced but will most likely be held between the central business district and Glenelg as determined by the Games Organizing Committee.

You can check various websites or join Deaf Sports Australia’s Facebook page to keep up with the latest information and dates. The organization is headquartered in East Melbourne. Current on-going games reported will whet your appetite for the big time ahead. Check photos and results from the last round and feel the passion that accompanies the organization’s endeavors. You won’t want to miss out on a major social and cultural extravaganza.

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Cooking with a Deaf Person

Let’s step off the court for a second here. The deaf are only hearing impaired in varying degrees. This doesn’t affect their ability to do most things around the house, including whipping up a nice meal. Life is easier when a household is set up for their needs including lights flashing when the phone rings or white boards for writing notes. Otherwise, their capabilities are like any others’.

Cooking does involve safety for the hearing and deaf alike. However, you can’t yell “watch out” when a pot is boiling over on the stove or a budding sous chef is chopping too fast. A knife can slip so easily and you will want to warn anyone in the kitchen ahead of time how to avoid scary accidents. Electric powered appliances such as electric knives and hand mixers can be more hazardous to deaf cooks as they cannot hear the appliance in operation. Extra care should be taken.

My associate was preparing food for the basketball team the other day at home. Because they are hard of hearing or deaf, they needed a pep talk. They were quite excited about the task not having made a meal before, especially together. The kitchen was set up with all the necessary appliances and tools lined up. A full discussion of usage preceded the first preparatory steps. When it came to the knives, my friend got a bit anxious. Deaf or not, these are weapons in disguise! They can maim with one false move.

So with careful sign language, everyone got the message loud and clear. They knew to be extra cautious around sharp implements. They also learned to watch and anticipate. You can’t hear the water boiling so you must look to see when it occurs. You can’t hear the timer on the oven, so you must check repeatedly to avoid burning. If you smell it, it’s too late.

Cooking with a group poses other problems. Everyone want to do his part and sometimes that of someone else! The team learns to share off the court. This is a great lesson in life. Food prep is often a solitary experience and certainly less fun than with helpers in tow. The action plan that day was to make salsa for chips, BBQ ribs in the oven, and homemade French fries. What a mess. There were bowls and blenders strewn about, dirty dishes on the counter, and stains on the floor. It almost came to a food fight at one point, but all in all it worked out well and the items were hot and ready to eat in due time.

Cleanup is not high on players’ lists. It was hard to tear them away from the fun to get back into the kitchen. They had assignments but tried to bribe each other to get them done. It thus took a few hours of extra hullabaloo to achieve a restored working space.

The deaf can cook and cleanup so I am told, although they certainly had a bit of a hard time with it. Their skills, however, have no doubt improved for a second round. They will vote on the menu and agree in advance to adhere to assigned tasks, whatever they may be. Knives will be delegated only to the most agile in the crew.

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After the Game

Deaf basketball is getting more and more attention by each day. Basketball itself is a great sport, and it is no wonder why so many people play it. It does not matter if you have a disability of some sort, you can still play this amazing game.

Sport and recreation are an essential part of everyone’s life. It makes us healthy and strong. Many people nowadays are struggling to get their bodies into shape and to lose weight. Well, if you pursue playing sports you will definitely loose weight and get your body in good condition. Although, it is not always enough just to exercise. You need to eat healthily as well. By doing so, both, your body and mind will thank you.

We live in a fast world; everything evolves in a fast manner and sometimes we just do not have enough time to take care of ourselves. That should change. Life without sports and recreation can lead to some health issues and problems with obesity and other diseases. That is why it is essential not to exclude sports completely from our lives. It can be tuff at times, but perseverance is the key.

If you have a disability such as deafness, you can still play sports and lead an active life. You could for instance play deaf basketball. It will keep you active and strong. You will not have problems with weight and losing inches around the waist area.

How to relax after a basketball game? Everyone has their method of relaxation, but the one that will always be among top three is taking a nice long shower. Just think about showering with a low-pressure shower head after a workout. You can even install a rain shower which makes steam. Getting clean after playing basketball and trying out different shower heads in order to find the perfect stream can be fun, even though it may seem a bit difficult to believe that.

If you do decide to experiment with different shower heads, you should definitely use a shower head with a filter. Sites like A Great Shower review lots of products including shower heads with filters, so that you can find the right one for you. It is always a smart thing to use a filter because it can prevent contamination. We all know that the water is not always the best quality and it can be contaminated.

We all have different habits and different ways of relaxation. Taking a nice relaxing shower is just one idea. You can take bubble baths as well. For our friends who play wheelchair basketball, we hear that they find walk in tubs to be the best way to clean and relax. Basketball like all other sports connects people and makes new friendships. Deaf basketball is not an exception. It is a beautiful sport and has a big role in people’s lives. Basketball is not just a sport. It is a way to teach people discipline and hard work. It is not always easy, but it will give you moments of joy and pleasure. Deaf basketball is becoming more and more known and appreciated. It takes a lot of hard work to be a team player, once you do become a member of a team, your team will probably become your second family.

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How Can You Play Basketball Without Hearing?

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Anyone who watches TV knows that almost any sport is open to the deaf. Some work better than others however, and one of those is basketball. Visibility in a well-lit arena is optimum day or night and communication is easy between players and with officials. With some adaptation and amending of rules, hearing and non-hearing teams can actually go head to head in a fair manner without undue advantage on one side, although it is more common for deaf teams to limit themselves to their own tournaments.

As with any activity, sign language is used by the deaf. In sports, this may pose a few extra difficulties in term of interrupting play to reach others. As applicable, many deaf players wear hearing aids. What is allowed is dictated by national and world associations such as Deaf Basketball Australia and the International Basketball Federation (which cooperates with Deaflympics). This makes a uniform platform for competition and ensures an even playing field. Many private groups around the world are dedicated to fostering deaf basketball and expanding the sport. For younger ages, participation helps build confidence, leadership, ethics, and teamwork.

There are numerous elite deaf athletes in the world of basketball. Some go on to play on hearing teams such as Lance Allred of the NBA, who has done what few have attempted.  The rarity of this exception denotes the difficulty involved. Those players who do find positions on hearing teams need to develop a specific relationship with their coaches and may even require an interpreter be present. Fellow athletes will learn to face the hearing-impaired to facilitate communication and make lip-reading an option.

The important point in considering the role of the deaf on hearing teams is avoid negative assumptions. Expectations do not have to diminish and should not be lowered. Be clear and simple in coaching instructions. You don’t have to be over obvious or conspicuous. Every team member should be treated the same as much as possible. They want to assimilate and can do so with ease, given the opportunity. A case in point is Michael Lizarraga who played on the college team of Cal State Northridge before going pro.. The 6 ft 7 division 1 player had a special instinct for the game according to witnesses. Coaches attested to his ability to absorb information with his eyes: he was uniquely attuned to non-verbal cues. Colleagues loved his sense of humor and use of pantomime and facial expressions to communicate. (Some said his face was as malleable as putty!) There was complete understanding on this stellar team.

Osei Morris doesn’t know the meaning of physical challenge. The LA Stars (ABA) welcomed him with open arms while many fellow players learned sign language to facilitate his acculturation. Then there is Emma Meesseman of the Washington Mystics.

As a result of great role models, the hearing impaired are not barred from their favorite sport. As Allred has stated, “growing up deaf, people all my life told me what I can’t do.” Well basketball, isn’t one of them. So many organizations are joining hands to encourage and advance it worldwide, maximizing playing opportunities.  Kids can start young and go on to college and pro teams.

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Beard Confusion

If you are not hearing impaired but work or socialise with people who are hearing impaired in some way, you should start shaving as we speak. Hair removal around the mouth is imperative for your colleagues who need to lip read to supplement hearing aids and cochlear implants. It is more than a courtesy; it is essential. You are remiss if you haven’t even noticed. Get your hands on a beard trimmer and be understood.

This issue pertains to the workplace first and foremost where conversations are all around. You don’t want to leave anyone out. Most of us know to directly face a person with hearing loss to maximize communication. Few hearing people know sign language, although it is not a bad idea to learn. If a large, unkempt beard is in the way, the process is that much more difficult and frustrating. This can even be true of a small mustache. As lip reading is not an exact science for the deaf, anything that helps the process is more than welcome. It is easy to do your part. Just get out the shaving cream and razor and go for it. Get ready for a new smoother you.

In sports, beards are ever popular these days, if not an absolute obsession. If fact, they are so prevalent that not sporting (pun intended) excess facial hair draws considerable notice. Baseball and football players are prone to the ubiquitous fad as well all know, following one after another like dutiful sheep. Maybe its team solidarity, who knows! Basketball has a few adherents as well. If there is a deaf member on your team (such as a company club or local brotherhood organization), you will have to sacrifice the macho trend to be fair. A teammate cannot be expected to perform well if he cannot see the vital visual clues that underlie team strategy. If you resort to large facial expressions, then of course your opponents will be in the know, even before your fellow players!

Beards and three days of scruffy growth are very manly indeed. More and more women say they don’t mind it, and in fact are learning to like it. Men enjoy freedom from tedious daily shaves and the rough treatment of their skin. Stubble is the only look for celebrities and non-corporate types who want to display their independence. The decision is therefore not easy when it comes to athletic ethics. Yes, it seems to be a kind of moral issue not to treat deaf players as equals. This means respecting their individual needs and rights, as you would with any player on your team. With the deaf, simple approaches can eliminate a “disability” entirely. If a hearing-impaired athlete is allowed a few basic gestures of respect, he can excel as well as any other player.

Lest you balk, think about it before judging someone who is different. Most of us are in some way. Treat yourself to a professional shave and make an event out of it. Show the before and after on Instagram for major kudos. Your Facebook friends will multiply. Your self-respect will grow.

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Getting Your Child into Basketball and Other Sports

Parents of deaf children know that nothing is out of their range of possibility. A few adaptations in school, and they can perform as well as any hearing student. Higher education and just about any career is open to them. TV shows like Switched at Birth have done a lot to promote this fact. It has been great public relations for integrated education and sports.

Sports are more and more important for boys and girls, especially in light of the growing statistics on fatty diets and obesity, not to mention diabetes in the young. You can’t start your kids too soon. The smallest toddlers do gymnastics, dancing, and various games with balls. Starting at home, they go on to preschool and elementary school programs, thus developing the skill for their later years. There are many deaf programs that appeal to children and teens and speak to their special needs.

Camps are a wonderful option for day or weekly options. In addition to specific sports like basketball, kids can learn arts and crafts, animal husbandry, and team activities. Swimming is most popular in the summer, but some offer boating, archery, and more. Physical education is primary and a focused experience can often set off a lifetime of enjoyable practice.

Kids don’t need to leave home however. Public and private schools have their own programs afterschool or at vacation time. Sports once again win the vote of the young. They may already have a favorite or want to learn a new game. Having a participating peer group with captive attention is the attraction. Parents can turn over their children to trained professionals who know just how to organize activities and keep kids in line. It is a great way to learn how to go along with rules willingly and to respect authority—a great lesson for adult life!

Hearing challenged children can seek the help of Deaf Sports Australia to find specific available programs they sponsor for their age and skill level. Specialization includes colored balls, readily available interpreters, and assorted signs and signals unique to a given sport. For basketball, Deaf Basketball Australia, for example, points the way to a multitude of opportunities and helps to combat the general lack of athletic endeavors and poor role models in mainstream schools. Deaf children need specialist support and can find it with ease.

Among sports for the deaf, basketball is becoming increasingly popular. Sign language is primary as one might expect along with facial expressions and related signals. Good team camaraderie will smooth out playing skills as players come to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Kids learn invaluable lessons in team participation and ethics along with rules and regulations. Playing later on a hearing team is not out of the question.

There are many state-affiliated organizations in Australia and the website for basketball reveals events and programs for children in particular. They are top priority as witnessed by Aussie Hoops. The health and social benefits cannot be surpassed in the formation of youth education.

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Getting a Sponsor

Organizations like Special Olympics, Deaflympics, and Deaf Sports Australia need financial support to operate. Fortunately, they get it, but it is never enough. As interest in deaf sports like basketball continues to grow, more programs need to become available to meet the new demand. This is particularly true for hard-of-hearing children who should start young. Mainstream schools are simply not equipped to service special-needs students as much as they would like to do so.

The positive publicity surrounding the above organizations has been a two-edged sword. It has opened minds to fund-raising appeals for deaf sports, but has also created an over-whelming response from the non-hearing community for more widespread opportunities. These organizations must turn to local, regional, national, and international sponsors for help. Volunteers can start a grass roots program in their own area. Modest donations can add up significantly on an aggregate basis. No amount is too small.

Pizza Parlor Scenario

How to do it? Let’s say you are the mother of a 10-year-old deaf boy who plays basketball under the auspices of Deaf Basketball Australia. You want to do something beyond your limited means. You have asked friends and neighbors with some success, but desire a really large contribution to put your goal over the top. You want to become a role model for others, and showing your success is the perfect mode of persuasion.

You select the nearest pizza parlor, not part of an international chain, as your target. You have taken your family there many times and are certainly a familiar face. You politely ask for the owner/manager who you know is there daily. He greets you with a broad smile. “How can I help you,” he says.

Now it’s your turn. You show him a photo of Kenny, your son, playing on his youth team. “Did you know that Kenny is deaf,” you ask and look into his eyes. “Of course,” he answers. “It is because of local business donations that we have a wonderful outlet for his growing skills,” you say proudly. “I am proud to represent the team and the fine values it promotes.” You stop and wait.

The owner is impressed. “What can I do?” he queries. “Sponsorship would be idea.” You say. “Your name would be in our publicity material and we could print Pizza Hut coupons to help bring you more business. We want to be a team effort in our own way with the community.”

“Why of course I would be pleased to help. But I am a small business as you know.” He pleads. “Not a problem,” you intervene. “We have many levels of sponsorship. We will select one that suits your budget. May I suggest….” And you confidently continue on.

You have barreled through a potential obstacle and have found a mutual solution. You can use this preliminary success to continue in the local area with your fund-raising program. You can mention the pizza parlor; and as you build rapport, you add more names to your list. It’s powerful stuff.

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About Deaf Sports Australia

Sports for the hearing-impaired are supported strongly in Australia. The history of the country’s involvement is over a century old. Deaf Sports Australia is a case in point. The organization is dedicated to promoting the crowd-pleasing game as an option for the hearing-impaired. A lot of progress has been made thanks to the focus of the national body. Various national groups now fall under its umbrella such as Deaf Basketball Australia.

It actually goes back many decades to 1964. It hoped to develop national teams and oversee competitions (such as the Deaf Basketball Club Championships). It fed participants into the Deaflympics, Asia Pacific Deaf Games among others. Now aligned with Deaf International Basketball Federation, this perennial organization had an auspicious beginning and has done much to bring deaf sports into the public eye.

With this kind of backing, it is no wonder that deaf basketball, for one, is super popular with a growing constituency and a plethora of followers. The Deaf Sports Australia extended family employs coaches and team managers, besides helping to recruit plays and sponsors as the parent organization for this major offshoot.

Sport options for the deaf are many. Apart from basketball, there are deaf sports carnivals that go back to 1895 with deaf cricket (although 1911 is the official date for the new organization). You can attend games in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Canberra. There is a special program for kids as might be expected. Thus, Australia boasts of a comprehensive approach to non-hearing sports activities nation-wide. In fact, the Australia Deaf Games (owned and managed by Deaf Sports Australia) are called “the pinnacle multi sports events for deaf people in Australia.” It is quite an achievement that now includes nineteen sports.

Adherents to DSA sing its praises and the silent sports challenge it brings. Soccer, touch football, golf, tennis, and lawn bowling are gaining momentum and perhaps not that far behind the ever-popular basketball. Everyone is looking forward to the deaf games in Adelaide in 2016, organized by Chairperson Kym Jacobs, when over 1,000 people are expected to be involved. Planning is underway to supplement the many activities that will occur in the interim. It is also to their credit that they strive to integrate the deaf into the hearing community.

Deaf Sports Australia has a noble mission of leading and promoting proactive change in the sports community to allow maximum participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing candidates. It works hard to include women and ethnic communities.  Its partnership programs are numerous and widespread. Public awareness is as important as athlete education, as without it, the DSA cannot go far. While looking for financial support, the organization has established eligibility rules (along with the International Sports Committee for the Deaf), expanded the range of sports choices, and done everything it can to encourage participation in its controlled events. They support Hearing Awareness Week with special athletic challenges. This is the non-profit organization to turn to for all the news on deaf sports and how to participate as a player or sponsor.

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