On September 8, the Beijing Paralymics came into its second day of competition, and 41 gold medals in 11 events were up for grabs. Both the events and scoring rules differed widely from those of the Olympics. The game-time atmosphere was different, too. Even the volunteers found themselves tackling a different task. At the Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium, where blind men’s goalball matches were underway, this reporter had a chance to see how the volunteers went about their jobs.
As the blind athletes judge the direction in which ball moves entirely by ear, the noise level at the venue must be kept under 30 decibels. That makes it essential for the audience to stay silent throughout the course of the game. For this reason, the volunteers at the scene have to work in silence from beginning to end. When they lead the spectators to their seats, remind them to switch mobile phones to the “silent” mode and hush up while the game is in progress, a sign language and a signboard with “silence” printed on it are all the tools they can rely on. Ｗhen communicating between themselves, they must read each other’s lips. Thanks to the volunteers’ effort, the audience stays silent, and the athletes are able to track the ball and play the game undisturbed.