Whilst the team is holding up well, the same can’t be said of their headgear. Much to the chagrin of Team Leader Tanya, the CWB hats have for some reason been replaced by a multitude of more bespoke headwear, ranging from Philipo’s weather worn and sweat stained ECB hat to Krieger’s sand coloured floppy. Fortunately Paulo upheld the sartorial standards with a classy straw number and a retro CWB shirt.
The day featured a light spell of friendly cricket in advance of the first school. Paulo had had a torrid time in the field the previous day dropping innumerable catches under the pressure of 80 watching teenagers. Fortunately his confidence was restored during a short spell facing Nico’s exceptional (…y ordinary) medium pace. Paulo allowed Nico to retain some dignity by retiring not out on 16 off of three balls (two of which were lost over the top of the school roof, including a straight six).
Onto the serious stuff. The aforementioned came after and before our first visits to deaf schools. The previous day we had spent a session coaching children from the secondary school and today we returned to coach the primary. Whilst most of the challenges we have faced we have managed to overcome with plenty of buoyancy and enthusiasm, this was a step into the unknown where more than shouting and silliness was needed.
The journey to the school was slightly tense with us all attempting to recall various pieces of sign language we had learnt over the years and trying to think about how we could rejig our coaching sessions to accommodate the different needs of the children. Fortunately, we were accompanied by Charity and Daisy, local school coaches and members of the Kenyan women’s cricket team, both of whom were fluent in sign language.
They were able to teach us some basic skills and advise us on how to approach the task at hand. We met the children and teachers as usual with Charity and Daisy translating as we spoke. We then split into our usual teams to begin our sessions as per previous days.
How did they go? They went went pretty much the same as every other coaching session, the only real difference being the far superior attention of the children. Their ability to understand our demonstrations was exceptional which made our life easy. What was the learning point for us? Perhaps that we shouldn’t prejudge and that we should recognise that sport is language in itself.
P.S. If anyone on the outskirts of Nakuru comes across a used Slazenger tennis ball, please can they return it to Nick Withers c/o CWB.