It was the first time for me and my sister to be physically present at an US Open event in Queens, NY, earlier this week. It was a different experience from watching it on TV. What made it even great is that it was accessible for people like myself!
When attending an event at a stadium, many deaf and hard of hearing spectators had to miss aural announcements in past. Even though most of sports games are visual and you could see scores on a board, you wouldn’t feel fully included unless aural information is captioned.
There was a class lawsuit by a group of deaf and hard of hearing people in 2006 against Washington Redskins and Field Stadium that became a precedent for more games at stadiums to be captioned.
I knew before the event that US Open was captioned. So I sat down and was looking at two big monitors on top of a stadium. After my experience at my sister’s open captioned college graduation, I assumed that captions would be there and got disappointed not to see them.
Until I saw some words moving on one of scoreboards in the middle of the stadium that looked like open captions! I got so thrilled! It made my day! I showed them to my sister who was delighted, too, because she did not have to interpret for me every time she heard any aural information. It was so nice to be independent from my hearing companion to interpret for me.
One thing I wish is that captions were bigger and also shown on those TV screens in addition to scoreboards. There were times when TV monitors showed something else while players were taking breaks, and I missed what was said there as captions were displayed in the middle of the stadium, not on screens. It would be good to show captions in more than one place and in different locations at the stadium. Also, when we were watching the 4th and final game on a big screen outside of the stadium on a ground level (we decided to leave the stadium after the 3rd game and headed to subway when Nadal was close to win the 4th game – to avoid crowds), that screen was not captioned if you were watching it on a ground level.
It was a men’s finals, by the way, where Nadal from Spain played against Djokovic from Serbia and won the title.
Posted below are some pictures I took at the event: