City of Riverside honors Deaf Awareness Week with traditional softball game

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Saturday, September 24, 2022 10:45PM
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The COVID-19 pandemic put many of activities we love on hold. For a group in Riverside, that meant putting an annual softball game on hold. But it isn't just any softball game.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- The COVID-19 pandemic put many of activities we love on hold. For a group in Riverside, that meant putting an annual softball game on hold.

But it isn't just any softball game.

As part of Deaf Awareness Week, members of the deaf community in Riverside took on members of the Riverside Police Department in a softball game. It's something they had done for years before 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, who's a member of the deaf community in Riverside.

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

"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 Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez. "They don't like to lose, we don't like to lose."

Anderson said other events include painting murals in the city, some of which end up in the city's museums.

"I put six different hidden features in here of the history of Riverside," said Jon Savage, a deaf artist from San Diego who explained the meaning behind his painting to Eyewitness News.

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?

READ MORE | Deaf football team at Riverside school heads to state championship after undefeated season

"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. Fifth 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 about who wins or who 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 Gonzalez. "So, it's important for us to maintain that working relationship with our deaf community."