A couple months back, a press release came across my desk. It said, for the first time ever, a deaf student was playing the part of Portland High School’s bulldog mascot.
I thought, hey, that’s a cool story that needs to be told. But the more I pondered it, the more I wondered if it was really a story. I mean, why couldn’t a deaf student be a mascot? Would it be kind of insulting to suggest it was a big deal at all?
I have a friend named Stu. He get’s around on crutches or on a scooter. I’d often heard him say how much he hates media stories proclaiming: Heroic disabled man goes to store for a gallon of milk.
That’s hyperbole, of course, but I got his point. He hates pity and he hates being treated differently.
I hemmed and hawed about the story and, in the end, I just decided to just ask the kid what he thought.
“It’s actually not that special of a story,” said Kamron King, the freshman playing the bulldog. “Being a mascot, for a hearing and a deaf person, is exactly the same thing.”
King, who lives in Saco and attends Portland High via the Governor Baxter School of the Deaf, is also on the school track team. He can hear a sliver of sound in his left ear with the help of a high tech hearing aid. He speaks more than he uses sign language and would love to learn to play the drums, he said.
His father, Michael King, assured me that his son was like most 15-year-olds. He likes to sleep late and play video games.
But that’s not to say he doesn’t feel some pride at being the first deaf student to play the part.
“You know, I’m a deaf person first but I want to be the first deaf person to be a mascot for Portland High School,” he said. “That’s kind of cool.”