‘It’s not a disease, we’re not broken’: Overcoming adversity as a Deaf individual in Amarillo

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 6:12 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - It’s been a life of overcoming obstacles and adversity for Coach Scott Tankersley.

Coach Tank recently retired after 33 years of coaching.

The journey to finding a school to look past his deafness and into his passion, hasn’t always been easy.

“They would say things like, ‘I can’t understand him, can you understand him? Hey if I can’t understand him, how are the kids going to understand him?, So they would talk and it was a lot of negative comments and I knew that school wouldn’t be for me,” said Coach Tank.

West Texas Christian School, which later merged to be San Jacinto, was his first opportunity. He then moved on to Caprock and then to Bushland.

After 33 years, it is now time for a new journey for Coach Tank.

On August 1, he will begin training to become a full-time pastor at Amarillo Deaf Church.

“Deaf are the most loneliness people in the world, we are, so I can reach out to them and they know me, being Deaf to Deaf I can connect that as my advantage,” said Coach Tank.

Tankersley wants the hearing world to know Deaf people are just like you.

“Treat me equally because they know me as a coach, so they know, but treat the Deaf people equal. If you can’t talk to them, write. Get out your phone and type it out, act it out, gesture. Its not really hard, it’s not a disease, we’re not broken that we need to be fixed, you don’t have to walk around us ‘oh they’re Deaf, they’re Deaf, walk around them’, we see that a lot,” said Coach Tank.

His daughter says quite often when they go out, others assume she is Deaf as well, however she is not.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard at a restaurant people behind me talking about us and I can hear everything you just said and just because they can’t doesn’t mean you know, so we are just as equal as the person next to us is,” said Tiara Tankersley, Scott’s daughter.

The entire Tankersley family is excited for this new adventure as Coach Tank enters Deaf ministry.

Amarillo Deaf Church is also hosting a garage sale this weekend and Coach Tank invites everyone to come out, you don’t have to be Deaf.

It will be held at 3817 Holiday Dr. from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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