When we think of sporting events, most of us automatically envision all the sights, sounds, and smells of thousands of fans sharing space inside a stadium. Yet for Jose Gallego of Bogotá, Colombia, the arena where his beloved Millionarios soccer team play is still, silent, and dark.
Jose is both deaf and blind due to a rare genetic condition called Usher Syndrome, but thanks to the help of his best friend he’s able to “watch” football right along with all the other cheering fans.
Jose was just 9 years old when his disease robbed him of his vision and hearing, but losing these senses did not diminish his love for football.
“I still remember before I lost my sight, I often watched the matches between Santa Fe and the Millionarios on TV. I’ve liked the Millionarios since then,” Jose explained, using sign language. Unfortunately, Jose didn’t have any way of actually watching the games, but all of that changed when he met Cesar Deza.
Cesar is a fellow soccer fan who quickly bonded with Jose over their love of the sport. Eager to communicate with his friend, Cesar learned sign language and together they formulated a series of hand signals and movements to use in conjunction with a homemade cardboard replica of the soccer field.
“There was no one to interpret a football match to me. I can’t tell you how happy I was when Cesar came with me to the stadium for the first time,” said Jose.
As the play on the field occurs, Cesar watches the action and then interprets it for his friend, allowing Jose to “watch” the game in real-time. This small action reopened the whole world of professional sporting events to Jose, enabling him to be a part of the fun for the first time in years.
“We’ve reached a common understanding. This means out of bounds. This refers to a corner kick. This means sideline judge. This sign means a penalty kick. If the ball is thrown-in, this is the signal. This gesture means someone got a red card or yellow card,” Cesar explained.
Video of Cesar interpreting the game for Jose has reached viral status online, and people from all over are moved to tears when they think of the way this friend has extended a helping hand in such a meaningful way. This is the true definition of friendship — offering what skills you have to help your buddy succeed and enjoy life to the fullest!
Watch Cesar’s clever way of helping Jose in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
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