The Hamilton Tiger-Cats really put the “touch” touchdown, adding tactile experiences during a behind-the-scenes tour of Tim Hortons Field, the stadium where the Canadian Football League team plays its home games.
First stop was getting out onto the field, just like the Ticat players.
Allison and intervenor Crystal got down on their hands and knees to feel the spongy green artificial turf.
Later, Allison and John Jr. sprinted down the field. They took their first few steps with their intervenors and then ran independently, Allison all the way to the end zone.
The tour was intended to provide an multisensory experience ahead of our group visit to the June 28 Ticat game versus the Montreal Alouettes.
Chris De Sousa, account executive for ticket sales and service for the Ticats, led the tour. He brought out a football and shoulder pads for participants to explore on the field.
Everyone got to handle the football, feeling its distinct geometric shape (it’s a prolate spheroid) and pebbly surface and gauging its weight.
Jordan, working with intervenor Donna, showed he could hold the ball up in one hand.
Yi-Min, who watches a lot of NFL games, looked like a seasoned quarterback as he spun the ball using his fingers before tossing it to Chris.
Everyone was given the chance to try on the shoulder pads, slipping them on over their head.
John Jr. said the equipment was lighter than he expected.
We also explored the stands where our seats are next Friday.
For Dorell, it’s one of the accessible seating areas. Dorell, whose SMART goal was to attend sporting events with his father, will be joined by dad Rene at the game. They also attended our first pitch for deafblind awareness Blue Jays game together earlier this week.
The tactile experience continued in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, where our group could run their hands over the busts of the hall inductees.
Where a bust was missing, Allison jokingly placed her face near the empty stand.
The last stop was the press box, which offered a view of the field and stands they’d just explored from way up high.
“This is cool,” John Jr. said.
Our group was joined on the tour by sports reporter Justin Dunk and cameraman Duane Worth from CHCH, which aired a story on Thursday’s evening broadcast and online, great timing for National Deafblind Awareness Month.
John Jr., activity coordinator Jay Vandervlist and CEO Cathy Proll were interviewed for the story.
Justin, who spent five seasons as the starting quarterback of the University of Guelph Gryphons, was eager to learn a few basics of sign language from the consumers and intervenors.
Thank you to the Ticats and CHCH for experience and opportunity.
Everyone got to take home a special souvenir coin commemorating 150 years of football in Hamilton and a mini Ticats football, which Chris handed out at the end of the tour.