Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mike Glenn

I was watching a bit of CNN this morning and they interviewed former NBA basketball player Mike Glenn. He has a basketball camp for deaf kids each summer... a thing he started 30 years ago in honor of his father.

Glenn, though hearing, learned American sign language while hanging out as his father coached children at the Georgia School for the Deaf. It is a moving story which I won't try to tell myself, except to note that the hands have the capacity to take the place of other forms of both sensing and expression. Blind and deaf Helen Keller met Mark Twain in his later years. He would read to her, her hand cradling his jaw from cheekbone to adam's apple, allowing her fingers to sense the vibrations of his voice, thus giving her the capacity to "listen" to his words. Those of us with all our senses take the wonders of our hands for granted. The interviewer on CNN noted that even when talking with hearing individuals, Mike Glenn's hands were in motion, gesturing the meaning of his words.

On a similar subject, my wife reports that parents and toddlers coming to her Wednesday morning music sessions (now in their 29th year) at our Carnegie Public Library are communicating with sign language. The baby sign movement seems to have taken off even in our small town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


  1. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Talk about the wisdom of the hands! Great work in both examples. When my uncle taught at Gallaudet in DC, he was ecstatic when he told a joke in sign language and the students laughed.


  2. Coach Jessy4:40 PM

    It was great camp. I went there back in 1998 and I enjoyed to learning new fundamental. I really thanked to all coaches (volunteers)who taught me well and became me star in the past time. Great work, Mike!