Basketball Coach Gains Attention for Encouraging Team Using Sign Language

Category : Human Interest

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. spectator / ˈspɛkˌteɪtɚ / (n) – someone who watches a game, show, etc.

    Because it is the final game, the basketball court was full of spectators.

  2. stress / strɛs / (v) – to emphasize something

    The teacher stressed the importance of following all safety rules during the field trip.

  3. impairment / ɪmˈpeɚmənt / (n) – a condition wherein a body part does not function

    Because of her visual impairment, her parents made her study in a school that teaches blind children.

  4. hindrance / ˈhɪndrəns / (n) – someone or something that adds to a situation’s difficulty

    The speaker said that laziness is a hindrance to success.

  5. mentor / mɛnˌtoɚ / (v) – to teach or guide someone

    I feel very thankful for my professor who mentored me during my stay in the university.


Read the text below.

A video of a high school basketball coach communicating with his team in sign language has captured the public’s attention.

The video, which now has more than a million views, features Coach Sekoe White of the Mississippi School for the Deaf’s (MSD) basketball team, Bulldogs. White, who happens to be deaf, competed as a basketball player thrice in the Deaflympics—an international sports event for the deaf.

Kenny Griffis, a spectator in the game between MSD and Jackson Preparatory School (JPS), filmed and posted the video on Twitter. In his post, Griffis expressed admiration for White’s coaching communication.

To help people understand the video’s content, deaf model and actor Nyle DiMarco took to Twitter and translated the signs the coach made. DiMarco explained that White placed the letter D sign on the players’ foreheads to stress the importance of defense.

The video also showed White urging the boys to claim victory even if they were playing in their opponent’s court.

A local TV show invited White for an interview after the video became viral. In the interview, White shared that he wanted the boys to realize that having an impairment is not a hindrance to success and that anything is possible with hard work.

Although MSD ended up losing to JPS with a score of 49-40, MSD Superintendent Wendy Rogers remains proud of White. Rogers recognizes White’s passion in encouraging his team and setting a good example for the players.

Griffis, who watched the game to support his son from the opposing team, saluted White for mentoring the boys and giving them opportunities to succeed despite their disability.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were part of White’s team, do you think his coaching style would motivate you to work harder?
• If you were White, how would you feel after learning that the video became viral?

Discussion B

• What do you think are some qualities of a good coach? Discuss.
• If you were to become a coach, what values would you teach your members? Explain.

Category : Human Interest