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Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing: DEAFinitely Dynamic (Curtis J. Pride, Baseball Player)

8 minutes

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[CROWD CHEERING]

ANNOUNCER: The 1-1. Swung on, hit high in the air to deep center. Damon back-- way back, on the track. He's at a wall. She's gone. Curtis Pride, in his first game as a Yankee, has hit a home run over the center field fence. Talk about pride of the Yankees. The much traveled 34-year-old journeyman Curtis Pride gets a curtain call. How about that?

[MUSIC PLAYING]

I had a lot of people that doubted my ability to play major league baseball because of my disability. And it was important for me to talk about what I could do, not what I cannot do. I've set goals probably since seventh grade. Do the things I dreamed of doing. I want to be a professional baseball player. If I can do it, you guys can do it. It's just something I felt that I wanted to do it because it's really give me a satisfying feeling. Playing in minor league ball, I've had a lot of problems. I've had people making fun of me. If I accomplished a goal, then it gave me the confidence that I could see whatever I wanted to accomplish. People in baseball telling me, how can I play professional baseball if I couldn't hear the crack of the bat. It could be academic goals. It could be an athletic goal. It always took a lot of hard work, because I almost quit. I wanted to quit. By setting goals, it sort of told me to stay focused, to be able to work hard, be more determined. I stuck with it because of one thing, and that is I never stopped believing in myself. I always believed that I could play at this game.

NARRATOR: Curtis Pride's hearing loss was diagnosed when he was 14 months old. As the only deaf member of a hearing family, his parents knew that he needed good language and reading skills to succeed in life. Initially, Curtis attended public school 20 miles away from home in a self-contained classroom with other deaf children. At age 13, he convinced his parents to mainstream him into the neighborhood school.

CURTIS PRIDE: Sure enough, I exceeded their expectation, made the honor roll, got accepted a scholarship to go to The College of William and Mary, graduated from college with a degree in finance, and went on to play professional baseball. So everything was coming together for me, athletically and academically. It was a dream come true for me.

First thing we're going to do, we're going to try throwing. We're gonna play catch. I'm gonna teach-- make sure you're throwing it the right way.

Richard, turn.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Some people have a different style of hitting. Some people like to stand up tall. Some people like to crouch. Some people like to bat right-handed or left-handed. Definitely, it's up to you. But the point is, you want to be comfortable at the plate. Don't try and pull the head up. Make sure you keep your head in. Don't take your eyes off. My wife and I, we formed a foundation called Together with Pride. And our purpose is to help hearing-impaired children in South Florida, up in Maryland, D.C., Virginia area. And we provide six $1,000 scholarships. And we also provide donated hearing aids to needy kids who can't afford it. And I also created programs, reading program, a mentoring program. We have like baseball clinics to try to help them build their self-esteem and the same time to have fun playing sports. Yeah, yeah. That's it. What position do you play?

I usually play-- right now, I play outfield.

Outfield. When you're playing outfield, you stand like this, right? Now, when the ball comes up, take one step back, you catch it. Kind of teach that person how to work hard, stay focused, to be positive about everything, and things naturally go well for you. I try to teach that person to keep believing in themselves, good things will happen. I know you can play catch.

Yeah, I know. I love baseball. I know how to play baseball.

CURTIS PRIDE: Growing up, I've had a lot of support, not only from my parents, my family, relatives, coaches, teachers, friends. And they've helped me become the person that I am today, to be a professional baseball player. Now kids are looking up to me and saying, wow, you've got a guy who's deaf playing professional baseball. Man, if he can do it, and I keep doing, I could be able to achieve things that I want to still accomplish, even though I have a hearing disability. Since I began playing professional baseball, I've received hundreds, hundreds of letters from parents and children from all over the country telling me that my accomplishment has had a positive impact on their outlooks on life. "Dear Curtis, I am writing this letter to tell you how much I like to watch you play baseball. I am a 12-year-old girl. I am legally blind, but I can see a little bit. I can see your numbers on your shirt. I cannot see home plate, but my mom tells me what happens so I will know when to cheer for you. I always wanted to play ball, but I was scared because I don't see good. But I watched you play and you did good, so I decided to try. My mom found a T-ball team that let me play. I bat left-handed like you. A closed on first base calls to me when I hit the ball, and I run to his voice until I get close enough to see the base, and that is how I play. So I'm want to say thank you for helping me try. I will come to all the home games if I can, and maybe you will give me the autograph. I wish you lots of luck, and you will always be my favorite player. Your friend, Amanda."

And to provide an update on Amanda. She has now graduated from college and she is successfully working in a company in Tennessee. A hearing disability, or a disability of any kind, should not be a barrier to achieving goals or dreams that a person set for himself.

[CROWD CHEERING]

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Curtis J. Pride is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player. In this segment, he discusses his experiences as an athlete who is deaf. Currently he is the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. In 2015, Pride was named MLB's Ambassador for Inclusion. This is a short segment from "Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing: DEAFinitely Dynamic (Vol. 3)".

Media Details

Runtime: 8 minutes

Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 1
36 minutes
Grade Level: 10 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 2
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 3
9 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 4
10 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 5
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 6
27 minutes
Grade Level: 10 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 7
32 minutes
Grade Level: 10 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 8
8 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 9
7 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Achieving Goals! Career Stories of Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Episode 10
9 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12