City of Riverside honors Deaf Awareness Week with traditional softball game

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RIVER SIDE (KABC) — If you think the crowd watching this softball game seems rather quiet… you’re right. Not because of a lack of excitement, but because the players of one of the teams involved are deaf.

As part of the build-up to Deaf Awareness Week, members of the Riverside deaf community took on the Riverside Police Department. It’s something they’ve been doing for years… until the pandemic.

“After a two-year hiatus, we haven’t played a game since and we finally got together, so it was good to see them,” said Mark Anderson, Riverside Deaf Community.

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“I’m in my 30s with the department. I don’t know how many games I’ve played over the years, but it’s always a good time,” said Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez. “They don’t like to lose, we don’t like to lose.”

The softball game was just the beginning. In Riverside, events are planned during Deaf Awareness Week.

“With events like, for example, creating murals, we have the museum here to put our work here,” Anderson said.

Jon Savage is a deaf artist from San Diego.

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“I’ve put six different hidden elements of Riverside history here,” Savage said.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Riverside’s deaf community has been in the news. How can we forget the deaf high school soccer team that went to the state championship last year?

“That coverage was very uplifting. It created a lot of excitement in the community. It was a little overwhelming for us,” Anderson said.

At Hunter Hobby Park, the softball game was competitive.

“We got to about the third inning and it was tied, the fourth inning and it was tied; 5th inning we made some mistakes,” Anderson said. “They had a weak spot that we had, and I think they won the game 19 to 9.”

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But as they say, it’s not who wins or loses.

“If you’re a Riverside police officer, you’ll be handling more than one phone call in your career involving deaf people,” said Chief Gonzalez. “So it’s important for us to maintain that working relationship with our deaf community.”

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