Deaf linebacker hungry to prove he is an equal

By Nick Peralta

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Imagine the difficulties that come with playing the sport you love at the college level.

Whether it be baseball, basketball, golf or football. It is a strenuous task for any individual. Especially if you possess any form of impairment.

Especially if that impairment is the full loss of your hearing.

That is exactly what Riverside City College defensive linebacker, Agustin Bojorquez, has successfully overcome thus far to make it to where he is now.

Bojorquez, who was born with full loss of hearing in both of his ears, is currently obliging his freshman season after transferring from Bakersfield College last season.

Throughout his upbringing, Bojorquez attended an all deaf school in Arizona. It was there that he would discover his life’s passion.

“I started playing (football) in elementary school in the fifth grade, “Bojorquez said. “And I have been playing ever since. About 16 years now.”

Though he currently plays as a defensive linebacker presently for the Tigers, Bojorquez learned nearly every aspect of the game coming up, something he believes most definitely prepared him for the future.

“At the deaf school, I played all positions whether it was offense, defense, special teams. In public school, I started to play a defensive end and linebacker, and at the college I played before coming to RCC, I played defensive end.”

Bojorquez continues on, now with a program that he believes is beneficial for him. At least to the degree where he feels like he is going to be given the chance to prove himself.

Initially, Bojorquez moved to California to attend Bakersfield College where he found difficulty integrating with the program there. Multiple issues arose from initial integration to interpreters that proved difficult to work with.

“I used to go to Bakersfield College and I saw how the interpreters weren’t showing up,” Bojorquez said. “It is important for me to have good communication and it was difficult to be successful there.

The coach there told me that I need an interpreter that is like a player so that they know the system. I would have a different interpreter everyday so I wasn’t getting any chances really (to play). One of my best friends told me that I should transfer to RCC. So I transferred here because there is a bigger deaf program here, there’s plenty of great interpreters here where I can have interpreters stay with me. RCC is a lot better for me.”

Despite the overall improvement that RCC offers, Bojorquez still finds some difficulty due to his impairment. Regardless, Bojorquez is eager to show that he is just as capable as any other player on his team.

“Growing up at a deaf school, it was a lot easier because all my teammates are deaf as well so I felt more comradery,” Bojorquez said. “Going to school here it is different. My experience is just different. It’s very challenging always having to go through an interpreter and having no connection with the team yet. But what I feel like is the most hardest to deal with is the coaches don’t yet have confidence in me or trust in me yet. And that has been the biggest challenge, showing them that I am just as good as a hearing player or at least their equal. That has been my biggest challenge. Trying to build a relationship with the coach and having them trust me. Communication is most important to me.”

Bojorquez has been given little time on the field this season, having only registered three tackles in less than 24 plays and while that likely comes from his inexperience, Bojorquez will not be discouraged from earning his chance to prove himself.

“It’s never over. Just never give up. I just have to show what I can do and do my best. In the hearing world, I want to show that I can do the same thing as that all the other players with hearing can. I’m never giving up. Whatever your dreams are, don’t give up. Do what you can to attain your dreams.”

While to some, Bojorquez may be too hindered by his inexperience and impairment, the defensive linebacker intends on showing everyone that he is capable of more than anyone realizes. He maintains this with the drive and hope that he can go farther than anyone in his position has ever gone.

“My goal is to just become successful. To transfer to a university. If anything, at least to a Division II league. To earn a chance. Really my goal is to show the deaf community that we can do whatever we want. We can become actors, doctors, anything. We are the same as the hearing. Just the same, we are all equal. There’s been deaf players before but they didn’t play a lot and they didn’t get a lot of attention. So my goal is to be successful as a football player. To someday go to the NFL? That would be the biggest surprise to everyone.”