News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 29, 2018: As the Columbia-Poland World Cup match blared in the background, two Columbian football fans sat face to face in a Bogota restaurant, but they didn’t speak. Instead, one of the men used his hands to communicate every kick of the ball to his friend, who is both deaf and blind.
When he was just nine years old, Jose Richard Gallego lost his hearing and vision to disease, but the disease did not weaken his love of 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,” said Gallego in sign language.
Three years ago, Gallego met Cesar Daza, and the two men quickly discovered they shared a passion for football. Soon after, Daza learned sign language and created a unique set of hand gestures in order to communicate a football match, in real time, to Gallego.
“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,” explained Daza, while gesturing the movements for Gallego.
As the Columbia-Poland Group H match in Kazan, Russia played on a large screen TV, Daza deftly translated the movements on the field to a miniature football field-shaped board where he held hands with Gallego.
Daza’s lightening fast hand gestures mirrored the tense atmosphere of the match. But when Colombia slotted the first ball into the net, Gallego was able to follow the movement of the ball in nearly real time via Daza’s hands, and the two men erupted in jubilant cheers. Daza and Gallego embraced and jumped for joy. Although Gallego can’t see or hear his fellow fans around him, he can surely feel the excitement and ecstatic happiness of the room. (SOURCE: CCTV)