Marshwood Hawk finding Joy on the field | HS Sports

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Marshwood Hawk finding Joy on the field
HS Sports

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Luke Joy, a junior lineman on the Marshwood Hawks football team, has a helping hand on the sidelines and in the huddle - his American Sign Language interpreter.

"I just love the game. I want to show that I can do it," said Luke, who is hearing impaired, before a recent practice. 

"Sometimes I don't know when the play ends because I am not watching exactly where the ball is," he admitted.  "I don't hear the whistle, so sometimes other players have to tap me to say 'that's it. Stop'."

Joanne Weiss is one of the interpreters who acts as Luke's ears both at practice and during games.

"As the interpreters, we learn the plays. We know the calls. We know the signs that the coach uses, which is their own invention and then we have the ASL sign for it," explained Weiss. 

"I'm literally in the middle of the huddle, with all the sweat and all the kids (laughs) and when they score, I'm like jumping up and down, the kids are hi-fiving and it is just such a cool feeling," she added.  "I do I feel so lucky, so lucky to be here and be working with him.  He's a good kid."

Luke's coach, John Caverly says Luke is a part of everything the team does on and off the field.

"There's a place for everybody," stated the coach.  "I think that is the beauty of the game.  I mean, someone who is very smart, someone who is very big, someone who is very fast - there's a lot of different places for kids to be a part of this game one way or another."

Luke loves the game and plays on both the offensive and defensive lines.  He prefers defense because he can just watch the ball and gets to hit people, but his offensive skills are progressing with experience, and a little prodding from his coach.

He says other people should not let their disabilities keep them from doing what they love.

"If it is their first time trying football or they are having a tough time and need support, I think I would say you should join," said Luke.  "You should try and know that you will be accepted the same as me.  I would encourage that.  That's what I would say because you know the team, we work together and we are support for each other."

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