Tena koutou, Tena koutou, Tena koutou katoa
Open letter/NZSL to
Deaf Sports New Zealand (DSNZ);
New Zealand Deaf Rugby Football Union (NZDRFU); and the
New Zealand Deaf community
My name is Darryl Alexander. I am Deaf and living in Wellington. I am passionate to play, watch and talk about sports. Any kind of sports. I am writing/signing to share an idea about our two main Deaf tournaments in our country. National Deaf Rugby Championship and NZ Deaf Games.
- I will discuss about the idea of the letter/NZSL.
- I will discuss why the idea is a positive move.
- I will discuss about the background of my letter/NZSL, why I am doing this.
- How can we move forward with this idea and make the change?
Currently, the National Deaf Rugby tournament (hosted by NZDRFU) is held during Easter Weekend. They play one game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they are played every year. NZ Deaf games (host by DSNZ), tournament held every two years during Labour Weekend. They have a wide range of sports such as, Touch, Lawn Bowls, Basketball, Badminton, Indoor Bowls, Darts, Ten Pin Bowling, Squash, Indoor Netball, Indoor Football, 8 Ball Pool, Golf, etc. All these sports are played within 3 days from Friday night right up to Sunday evening.
The idea I want to discuss in this letter/video is to swap the weekends over. I will discuss why.
Rugby is a winter sport. Players join their local hearing rugby clubs (or choose not to) and they keep fit and train at their hearing clubs. Once the season is over, they can still train in their regional zones and build up for the National Deaf Rugby tournament during Labour Weekend. Then, we can play or watch good quality rugby in comparison to the Easter weekend. Additionally, the players can be selected to represent NZ, and they only allowed to do that if they are playing rugby at their local club. Three games in 3 days.
All of the sports in the NZ Deaf Games are summer sports except Netball (but there is Twilight Netball over the summer). It makes a lot of sense to train/play sports during the summer time to build up for the NZ Deaf Games at Easter time. The training will be paid off when players are selected for NZ to go to Deaflympics which is the Summer games. 12 sports in 4 days over Easter give us a lot of time to watch the Games over the weekend.
I am doing this because Deaf and hearing impaired players and supporters participating in NZ Deaf Sports are one of the important factors to keep the Deaf community alive. Deaf Studies Research Unit from Victoria University of Wellington did a survey study recently and found that New Zealand Sign Language, the language of the NZ Deaf community, is now at risk. The Deaf community maintains the language through socialising and education. In this case, it doesn’t matter if you are a player, coach, water person, or supporter. Being involved in Deaf sports = socialising can help maintaining our beautiful language.
So, the next step I would like you all to think about this idea and perhaps have this idea proposed at the next DSNZ and NZDRFU AGM (or special general meeting?).
What do you think? I look forward to have this discussion.