Alright, folks. Let's take a break from our rundown of where the Texas State athletic department currently stands and get happy. Because Bobcat football players just did something unique, fun, and very important.
Yup, that's a sign language concert geared towards the deaf and hard of hearing. Texas State defensive end Brian Guendling is the man front and center and dancing his tail off on stage, and the concert was his idea. It's a wonderful concept where Guendling, his teammates, and his friends help bring the power of music and dancing to those who otherwise wouldn't be able to experience it.
As detailed in his video description, Guendling's personal connection to people living with disabilities is a powerful one.
It all started when I met my Dads brothers who are both blind and mentally challenged. They are unable to walk at times, eat, bath, or doing anything by themselves. Now, at ages 55 and 51 they only have the mental capacity of a very young child. My dad always felt fortunate because he was born in between both of them and not only was he born without any handicaps but he also made it to the NFL.
While playing college football, which is very time consuming, he would still find time to see and interact with his brothers and also give his time to the Big Brother programs in Evanston which he mentored several young men. My father ended up getting drafted 33rd pick (5th pick of the second round) in the 1984 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers where he was able to raise his family and often do speaking engagements and fund raisers to help the handicapped.
His experience with relating to those with disabilities and special needs wasn't just a family affair, it impacted him on an individual level as well.
When my Mom got pregnant with me the doctors told her that there was a good possibility I was going to be just like my dad's brothers due to test results. I didn't speak until age 4 and growing up in pre-school all the way to my senior year of high school I was enrolled in the Special Education Program.
I would get pulled out of class 3 times a week to work on my grammar as well as my memory with other special needs students. I was around them so much I grew a passion for them and loved being around them. During my junior year of high school I had to take a foreign language class and decided to take American Sign Language at the local University.
It was there that he found his passion for helping the deaf and hard of hearing through sign language education and outreach, and learned about some of the daily struggles they face that other people might not think about.
I absolutely fell in love with it and thought it was so awesome to be able to talk to the deaf. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to help coach a mentally challenged/ deaf baseball team and I would donate my Saturdays to the special needs. I hung out with many deaf kids in San Diego once I learned fluent sign language and I still keep in touch with them today all the way from Texas.
Currently I play college football for Texas State University and I have met a wonderful group of deaf people here. I drive an hour away a few days out of the week to hang out with them. I ask them all, "Do you guys want to go out to the bars with me?" and they all respond, "Why when we cannot associate ourselves with the crowd and it would be awkward for us to just stand in the corner of the bar?"
So Guendling then decided to do something about it, and came up with the wonderfully creative idea for a sign language-based concert.
Then I asked other deaf people in Texas and California if they have ever been to a concert. ALL responded "NO"!! But every single one of them replied that they would WANT TO ATTEND A CONCERT! When I told them about my idea of performing sign language during concerts they all got so excited, and told me to do it. Remember the deaf are NO DIFFERENT THEN WE ARE.
The fact that the year 2015 is here and they have not been able to enjoy club life and concerts UPSETS ME. For all the hearing, we can all agree that most of the friends, girlfriends/ boyfriends, and memories you have made is because of nightlife.
According poster Catmom on Bobcatfans, multiple players were also involved with this project. They're reportedly Trey Garrett, Dallas McClarty, Karee Berry, Lawrence White, Ryan Carden, Rusmin Nikocevic, Javante O'Roy, and Jeff Banks.
Guendling plans to continue putting smiles on the faces of people everywhere by holding similar concerts in the future, so the greatness doesn't stop here.
Major kudos for everyone involved in this project for doing an incredible thing for an excellent cause, and (less importantly) for the Bobcat football players representing Texas State University in a terrific manner. May your video go viral, fellas.