akron-deaf-sports-history

Times have changed. Akron (Ohio) is no longer a
major industrial city. Years ago, it was big
as industrial cities go. But during the years
just prior to World War I, the tire factories
employed many deaf workers. At the Goodyear
Tire factory restless young deaf men came up
with their own semi pro football team called
the Goodyear Silents. This football team was
not sponsored nor sanctioned by the factory.
This team lasted 13 seasons, winning more
games than they lost, and won several semi
pro championships. During the peak seasons,
the team reached out nationally, recruiting
outstanding deaf players with a big
incentive – a full time factory job!

 

And then in 1945, the last year of World
War II, the first time ever national
deaf basketball tournament took place
at Akron. Because of war time conditions,
long distance travel was diffiult, if
not impossible – yet five teams took
part (host Akron and four out of town
teanms). The tournament was such a
smash success that in the years since
then, the national deaf basketball
tournament have become a big part of
Deaf American Culture.