IM this article to a friend!

December 31, 2004

Commercial will highlight CSDR

From: Press-Enterprise, CA - Dec 31, 2004

By MATT CALKINS / The Press-Enterprise

It's January, but the California School for the Deaf, Riverside football team still has one game left on its schedule. It's not some barnstorming exhibition either; this is the granddaddy of them all.

Each member of the San Joaquin League champions, including coaches and cheerleaders, has been given tickets to today's Rose Bowl game courtesy of ESPN and Citi. If that weren't enough, Friday the team filmed a commercial sponsored by Citi scheduled to air during the game.

"This amazing season is still not over yet," CSDR coach Len Gonzales said through an interpreter. "I was expecting to win a few games. But the Rose Bowl? The media attention? It's been unbelievable."

The Cubs clinched the first league title in CSDR's 51-year history in November with a victory over Riverside Sherman Indian.

Though the Cubs lost to Malibu in the first round of the Division 13 playoffs, news of their success had reached a national plateau, starting with a Sports Illustrated article and culminating with team appearances on CNN and NBC's "Today Show."

"My mom always told me, 'You'll be surprised what hard work and a little luck will bring you,'" wrote junior defensive tackle William Albright in an e-mail.

He refers to the team as "The Riverside Family."

"All we did is go on the field and play our hearts out and in return we get a 9-2 record and all this attention," he said.

The commercial, for which nobody from the school will receive money, will spotlight superintendent Harold Kund (who can hear) speaking about CSDR with coaches and players standing in the background.

This is the second time Citi has selected a group to appear in a spot during the game. Featured last year were the firefighters who battled the California wildfires.

CSDR players and coaches will also get airtime from inside the stadium, as a camera will randomly zoom in on them at their seats.

"The kids are very excited," said Gonzales. "They're all hoping to be big movie stars."

The game begins at 2 p.m. and will air on Channels 7 and 42.

© 2004 Belo Interactive Inc.