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City of Riverside honors Deaf Awareness Week with traditional softball game

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

As part of the lead up to Deaf Awareness Week, members of the deaf community of Riverside took on the Riverside Police Department. It’s something they had done for years… until the pandemic.

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

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

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

“Having events like, for example, doing murals, we have the museum here putting our work in here,” said Anderson.

Jon Savage is a deaf artist from San Diego.

“I put six different hidden features in here of the history of Riverside,” said Savage.

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 football team that went to the state championship game last year?

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

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 stayed tied; 5th inning we made some mistakes,” said Anderson. “They knew a weak spot that we had, and I think they won the game, 19 to 9.”

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

“If you are a Riverside police officer you are going to handle more than one call in your career where’s there’s deaf people involved,” said Chief Gonzalez. “So it’s important for us to maintain that working relationship with our deaf community.”

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