Okay, this is a work in progress, where a local city newspaper interviews a young amateur baller (still in high school), though this is intended to take place in the FBA universe.
Would like to know your thoughts on it.
Inner City Magazine: Our Athlete of the Month is rabbit James Fordson, a basketball player at the David Windsor School for the Deaf. Jim is deaf from birth and uses American Sign Language, so to translate for him is his grandfather Pastor Alex Fordson. Jim, Pastor Fordson, how are you today?
Jim Fordson: I am good, thank you.
Pr. Alex Fordson: Fine, thanks for asking.
ICM: May we talk about being deaf?
Jim: Yes. I would be glad to.
ICM: How deaf are you and why?
Jim: I am totally deaf. Doctors say my inner ear did not form properly, so I have nothing to hear with.
ICM: So you can't hear even really loud sounds.
Jim:I can feel some sounds. That is why I like playing Drum and Bass music. It plays me! Grandpa also has a drum that he uses to get my attention. He hits it with his cane and I can feel it.
ICM: We understand that many Deaf people have a name in sign language. What's yours?
[Interviewer's note: Jim sets his paws as if to make a shot with a basketball, but his right paw is in a fist with the pinky extended, then moves it down and across.]
Pr. Fordson: What he's doing is he's lining up for a basketball shot, then making the sign for the letter "J".
ICM: Do you know any English?
Jim: I can read and write in English and my grandparents taught me how to lipread. I am not good at lipreading.
ICM: Did you learn to lipread before or after you learned ASL?
Jim: It was after. We started learning ASL shortly after I moved in, but I was much older when I learned to lipread. They taught me to lipread using ASL to show what words they were saying.
ICM: You live with your grandparents?
Jim: I have lived with them since I was four.
[We asked how Jim came to live with his grandparents, but he and Pastor Fordson refused to talk about it.]
ICM: Did your grandparents know ASL?
Jim: No, we learned it together. Grandpa and Grandma say they had a lot of old ideas of how to teach a deaf person at first. They thought I should read lips and learn to speak.
ICM: What changed their minds?
Pr. Fordson: Jim's asking me to answer this one. I phoned a school for the deaf to ask about teaching Jim lipreading. The fellow on the phone was adamant that sign language be learned instead. We argued, and he finally told me to watch television with the sound turned off and try to follow what was going on. I never dreamed that it would be so hard—and I'd grown up speaking English! When I phoned again later and admitted this, he asked me to imagine how hard it would be for someone like Jim who'd never heard English in his life. I enrolled Jim, my wife Dorothy, and myself in the first ASL class that had an opening.
ICM: So how'd you learn to enjoy basketball?
Jim: I was very active as a kit. My grandparents wanted me to use that energy and be out of the house. Grandpa bought me a basketball and took me to a local court. He asked some players from our church to teach me and told them I was deaf. So they showed me how to shoot and dribble. That was the easy part. The hard part was explaining the rules because I could not hear them and they did not know sign language or how to talk to a deaf kid. It was the first time I really knew I was different.
ICM: But they kept teaching you?
Jim: Yes, they were very patient with me. They would even act out what the rules were and what was forbidden. That is how I learned basketball. When I went to a school I took what I knew and joined the school team. Being selected was wonderful.
ICM: What's your position on the team?
Jim: I play either Short Forward or Power Forward. Sometimes I play guard.
ICM: Are you competitive against your teammates?
Jim: I try not to be. If you compete against your teammates, then the team suffers. But if I don't like a teammate, then I get competitive.
ICM: Do you think there's a difference in how Deaf people play versus hearing people?
Jim: We can't call out to each other. Some of my teammates have some hearing, and can hear yells, but not very well. We have to keep our eyes open and be on the watch for signals. But I guess hearing people would have the same problem because the crowd makes a lot of noise. I don't know. I've never heard anything, so I couldn't say what the difference is.
ICM: Do you play differently against a team from a hearing school than you do against a deaf one?
Jim: No. We normally play against hearing teams. We sometimes play against deaf teams, but we play the same way.
ICM: How often do your grandparents watch your games?
Jim: As often as they can. Sometimes they can't watch because they're sick, or have something else going on, but they have only missed a few games.
ICM: You mentioned that you can feel sound. Have you ever felt the crowd cheer?
[Interviewer's note: Jim lights the room with a smile.]
Jim: Yes. I cannot describe it. Yes.
ICM: What are your plans for the future?
Jim: I would love to be in the Furry Basketball Association..
ICM: Who do you feel the most grateful towards?
Jim: First, I would like to thank God because by His help I can do all things. I want to thank my grandparents for taking in a deaf kit. I want to thank all the guys at the basketball court for teaching me how to play basketball.
Whether you're looking for critique on an upcoming story or stumped for ideas, this is where you can go to get through that block.
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