A new season of football has begun at Texas State, but this year the football experience will mean a lot more to a specific group of students: the deaf.
Bobcat Stadium will now have a specific section for hearing-impaired students to enjoy the game and all the thrills just as much as everyone else. The addition of a section for deaf fans at Bobcat Stadium is probably the most exciting university-related announcement I have heard since classes started. The section, which is located on the 35-yard line, will seat up to 1,000 fans.
The hearing impaired and those fluent in sign language will gain access to the reserved seating and have their ticket price discounted from $25 down to $10. The section will host an interpreter, who will translate the commentator coverage during the game.
I could not be more thrilled for the equality and opportunity being extended to the Bobcats that make Texas State the diverse campus it is. Football games are loaded with different sounds and conversation, which contribute to creating an exciting atmosphere.
I cannot speak on behalf of the hearing impaired, but attending a football game is an immersive experience for pretty much all five senses. I can imagine those who may not have use of all their senses may feel as though they are missing something because aspects of the experiences are inconveniently foreign to them.
But with the new seating section added to the stadium, the hearing impaired can now be included in every aspect of the game. As a matter of fact, I feel like we should provide this kind of opportunity everywhere. Hearing-impaired students are not just football fans—they are Bobcat fans.
Texas State should provide sections for the hearing impaired at every school function. Volleyball and basketball games—heck, even the Quidditch team—would have a better turnout if the school were to provide an equal opportunity for every student to enjoy all of the activities Texas State has to offer.
My passion may seem random or inauthentic, but there is a reason I am such an advocate for this cause. Throughout school, I played sports with a friend of mine, Isabella, who was deaf. Isabella was extremely athletic and would start for just about any team she would play on. When she was not playing, she was attending games and learning from the players by observing them. Isabella had this opportunity because the school provided an interpreter to accompany her to these games.
Hearing impaired students are still students. They like to have a good time, just like anyone else at Texas State. As Texas State continues to progress in its quest for equity and diversity, students have the obligation to speak up and tell the school what they expect from their university.
Texas State has made incredible strides to make their campus a mosaic of students, but it still has a ways to go. In the near future, students with disabilities of any kind will hopefully have the opportunity to go out and support their school. In the meantime, I would say the football team has gained a new and pretty awesome section of fans. Go Bobcats!
Follow Autumn Sprabary on Twitter @AutumnSprabary.