THERE'S nothing quite like suddenly becoming a fish out of water.
I don't think I was nervous when I took to the the court in the Silent Basketball Challenge on Tuesday morning – after all, basketball is a pretty universal sport.
It's visual, it relies on specific signals and, to an extent, reading body language and movements.
I wasn't ready for how much the game would change when I wasn’t able to use my voice, or understand what my teammates were asking me to do.
Nor had I considered what it would be like in between games.
We were split into three teams of 10 to play a round robin – we had plenty of time on the court, and also plenty of time to catch our breath (which I sorely needed).
What stood out most to me was what it was like to be on the sidelines – with earplugs in, communication was reduced to the most basic gestures.
All I could do was look on and do my best to interpret the Auslan of my teammates as they chatted away on the sidelines.
That thought struck me – for once in the deaf community, the shoe was on the other foot.
Here I was, a hearing person, the odd one out among a group of people laughing and communicating like they would any other day.
What stood out beyond that was how those teammates bent over backwards to ensure I understood what was going on.
The game was played with a slightly modified set of rules (restricting who was allowed in the key, a few other minor changes) which, for the purposes of the challenge, weren't communicated orally or through an Auslan interpreter.
Put that shoe on the other foot – imagine how discouraging it must be for a deaf person in day-to-day life sometimes.
Imagine the vulnerability, having to communicate by pointing at notes, writing messages on your phone – all the while being fluent in a language seemingly nobody around you understands.
Be aware of the challenges the deaf community face.
Think for a moment how unsettling it must be at times.
And make sure you show them the love they've shown the Border community during the Australian Deaf Games this week.