Thursday, June 4, 2015

Response to Dear Steph Curry

Since the NBA Finals have begun, I came across a gentleman's blog related to the Golden State Warriors. As I’ve developed and still strive to become a more efficient communicator, I have come to realize that one of the reasons I decided to become a writer is because most people don’t let a person finish their ideas. Even if I had supported an idea, many people have reacted to me as if I was challenging them, and I have experienced this many times so I understand the backlash Mr. Amaral has been getting because of his blog named, “Dear Steph Curry”. One of his response comments stated “… the only reason people are even reading it is because I included sports in it.”, and he was definitely correct when it comes to me. As a teen growing up in a broken home, I was set on dropping out from high school, but thanks to sports I graduated high school. I am sure he is a great man and he seems to put forth the effort to make himself available for his students passed the classroom setting. I don’t know from what point of view, moment, or time he had to detail what he was trying to express, but I wanted to share a different perspective.

I agree and understand some ideas that he shared about youth that were raised in low income communities, because I myself was raised in Socorro, TX and my home didn’t even have city water till my high school years. I don’t ever remember getting visits from important people to our school, and a week after my graduation from Socorro High School I was off to basic training because Army was my best option at that point. One thing I have noticed with time, and continually shocks me is how much respect and reverence we have for stars than for our servicemen, fire fighters, and civil servants. My sister is a teacher at a charter school in a low income community in Denver, and she expresses her concern for her kids at times because there are moments they can’t concentrate on school because of what they see in their communities. I’m going to be honest, I am not a fan of the school system in general because I believe the best school or teachers are MENTORS. I’ve always had difficulty learning in school, especially when I was a teen raised in a Spanish speaking household with illegal immigrant parents. I could write about the flaws in our school systems, but this blog is not about that; yet one thing I can say when it come to teachers is that they deserve more respect and better pay because they are very important to a developing child’s mind.

Maybe Mr. Amaral’s intent was not to crush kids dreams, but I believe there may be a more tactful way to guide and direct our youth. Sure, there are some that thrive from people's rejections and still get to their goals. One example is the legendary, Notorious B.I.G., who expressed in his song about his teacher telling him he was only going to grow up to be a trash man. Yet, there are also those that need an up lifting word to get some momentum. Our baseball coach, Chris Forbes, who may have been the greatest coach ever decided to stay in our low income community for 25 years. I still believe he could have done much more for himself if he would have worked in a wealthier community. Still, he took us to the Texas UIL Playoffs 20 times, and on his final year won a High School Baseball State Championship in 2009. He produced many ball players that were drafted by the MLB during my time in Socorro, including my teammate Omar Quintanilla. I worked hard for 4 years to make our varsity baseball team, which at the time was one of the most recognized teams in the state, if not the nation. Our first base man made it to Triple-A ball, the second baseman went to Arizona State University known for their great baseball program, our short stop played for the Rockies during their World Series appearance, the third base man played Double A in Mexican League, and the talented junior that started in front of me played for Double-A Yankees.

Seven years had passed until I returned to El Paso and asked my coach, “Why did I make the team?”, “How did I make the best team of the city at that time, even when it was stacked with talent?” I had only played competitively during high school, but I hoped I could develop into a pro ball player or at least college level. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and I had to choose another route that took me through close encounters with death. Sure, I didn’t have the height! Yes, I didn’t have the arm! Correct, I was in on cloud 9, but that was much better than what I experienced at home. Majority of the time we had to wait for food stamps to arrive so our empty fridge had food again because it was empty by mid month. It could have been worse, still thanks to my mother I learned very good qualities that have assisted me thus far. Our coach tactfully taught us to take it a step at a time, and use the tools we had so we could improve our lives, and become productive citizens in society.

In closing, I agree on a lot of what he wrote on is his blog, but there is one thing I do not agree with, and that is being realistic. If realistic is a certain or specific way, then my life hasn’t been realistic. The I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device) attack that destroyed the fuel truck a few feet in front of us should not have been the only one destroyed. An R.P.G. (Rocket-Propelled Grenade) missed my 5 ton truck during that same attack in Iraq. The baseball team I was not supposed to make, I somehow made. The kid that struggled during school, learned 5 languages on his own. Finally, the dreamer that hasn’t let go of his unrealistic dream is now closer than ever to reaching his goal. I ask myself daily, “What makes me so different and more special so I could have come this far? I’m not the most talented, but maybe this unrealistic goal has helped me move forward. I'm not saying being unrealistic is easy, because it actually takes more work than the usual path. It is more difficult to grow because one is starting from scratch. There is also no vacation because you are a trailblazer and no one else is usually there to take over. Still, there have been people that have pursued unrealistic goals no matter what circumstance or what society thought. Muggsy Bogues is one of the shortest players in NBA history and he played 14 years, Darren Sproles isnt built the usual NFL running back frame, Jose Altuve is an MLB star that isnt that big, WWE World Champ Rey Mysterio also had to work for his belt, and finally Oaklander Marshawn Lynch came out of a tough hood to make his unrealistic dream happen. I'd like to leave you with the thought I always ask myself as I move towards my goals,

“What is realistic?"

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