by Fr Mark James OP
On Saturday 6 July 2019, a football match between the Youth of Our Lady of the Assumption parish and the Deaf community was held on St Theresa’s football ground at 3.00pm. This was the first time that the two teams met. It was also the first time that the hearing and the deaf members of the parish played a game against each other. The refereeing was unique because the referee used a red flag to catch the attention of the players, and not a whistle. Despite having to get used to this new way of refereeing a game for the hearing, the two sides quickly adjusted to each other.
It was a hard-fought match where neither team gave the other side any easy chances. By half-time the score was 2-2. The second half continued where the first half left off. Again, it was a tight game and goals were kept being scored at regular intervals. With five minutes left, the score was an evenly matched 4-4.
A deflected shot sailed past the OLOA Youth goalkeeper and the Deaf moved ahead 5-4. Then in the dying minutes of the game the Deaf team managed to score again and to end the game victorious at 6-4.
This was an enthralling match to watch which kept all the spectators captivated. The game was played in a good spirit. For all the players, it was the first time to play in a match of this nature. Everyone expressed the desire to have a rematch and maybe to include in the future, other games like netball and volleyball, so the women are also included.
This was truly a graced experience for both the Youth of the parish and the Deaf community. It showed that hearing and deaf people can enjoy each other’s company and come to respect each other’s talents and gifts. Football is a game that unites.
Below is a short video of the match. Enjoy!!