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July 6, 2006

"Because I'm deaf, sometimes it's hard"

From: - Columbia,SC,USA - Jul 6, 2006

(Ames, Iowa)- South Carolina’s soccer teams are in their third day of competition. Wednesday, they took on a team from our Nation’s Capital, a team with what some would call a major advantage. But the team says they’re all playing on a level field.

For the Washington D.C. team, it sounds like a normal soccer game: whistles, barking coaches, and the boom of a well-kicked soccer ball. But for Sumter’s Loman Brooks, and the rest of the South Carolina School of The Deaf and Blind team, soccer is a silent sport.

Through the help of a sign language interpreter Loman said: “Sure, sure, because I’m deaf, sometimes it’s hard.” But Loman says being def is no disadvantage.

“Oh yeah, it’s all the same,” he said, his hands fast at work. “Hearing or def doesn’t matter. We just mix it up with hearing or def teams, we don’t worry about being def.”

They do have one advantage, a loud cheering section. And while they can’t hear their applause, fan Tori Speer says it still helps.

“They can feel it and when we’re jumping around they can see that too. So they know that we’re here for them and that’s all that matters,” she said while holding a sign with all the players names on it.

“I feel very proud and excited. And seeing all these people moving around, jumping around supports us,” Brooks said.

Just another example of how with some practice, nothing is impossible.

Day 2… Lewis actually reads the press packet.

Hello from Ames, Iowa. First of all, let me say if you didn’t get a chance to check out these stories during our newscasts Wednesday, be sure to click on the video on this page. By no means am I trying to brag on my efforts today, but I really think these are a couple cool stories about some neat Midlands athletes.

All plugs aside, let’s talk about my day 2 impressions of the event. This has all been a very well put together event. The folks here are taking this very seriously, and why shouldn’t they? The shuttle bus drivers here have been pretty amazing as well. One fella actually has a compact karaoke machine on his bus. I was riding with some of the Alaska delegation while we passed around the mic, all singing a rousing rendition of the Temptations, “Ain’t To Proud.”

Which brings me to the headline of this journal entry. I did read the press packet. Usually, I’ll give these folders of facts a passing glance… but focus my stories on individuals and their accomplishments. But what better venue than my journal than to share some of the numbers associated with Special Olympics:

Number of National Games held before this year – 0
Entry Fee for Athletes- $0.00
Number of Celebs hosting Games- 20 (Including Hootie and The Blowfish)
Number of Coaches and Officials at the Games- 2,000
Number of Athletes- 3,000
Volunteers- 8,000
Family Members/Spectators- 40,000 (for one week raises the population of Ames, Iowa to 90,000)
Number of Americans with Intellectual Disabilities- 7,000,000

Ok, these numbers are the kinds of things that this cool group wants you to know about, but often these things can’t make their way in a television news story that can only last 90 seconds.

Tomorrow, who can participate in Special Olympics? We’ll discuss. But for now, I’m signing off from Ames, Iowa.

I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Lewis Turner

© 2006 WLTX-TV 19