Joining basketball my freshman year, I was scared because I felt like I wasn’t good enough for the team. Who would have thought I would become a captain in the future? As a Mexican freshman, no one had high expectations for me. I was there to make the team crack some laughs. I started my freshman year as a benchwarmer for C-squad; I did not feel bad because I knew I had to work for my goal. By the start of my sophomore year, I became a junior varsity starter. I was proud at that moment because I knew my hustle was paying off and the coaches were noticing my effort.
Basketball has taught me many important values, like leadership, teamwork, commitment and pursuing passion. All these key values have also turned into my values for STEM. I will use all I learned from basketball for my future career.
Leadership in basketball was very important to the team. I made sure I always stayed positive so my teammates could play as a team.
I still remember the day my coach pulled me out in the middle of the game and said, “What’s wrong? I don’t have you starting only because of your skill … I need you to lead them, man!”
I was shocked; I knew from there that I needed to lead the team to a win. Teamwork is another key component I had improved on due to basketball. Nothing in basketball, or any sport, can be done without teamwork. Teamwork for me has never been difficult. It was always easy for me to get along with anyone. Being able to have perfect teamwork skills will win you any game. That would be one of the reasons why we were going to head into the state championship in 2021, but the championship was canceled due to COVID.
Having the chance to learn how to become a leader in basketball was amazing because I applied that to my passion for mechanical engineering.
Instead of having to take the car into the shop, I help fix cars. Most of the time we don’t know what to do, but I try to make sure we at least see where the problem is coming from. I’ve been able to use my teamwork skills in cars when it came to fixing something that couldn’t be done by one person. I have been able to work together with my friends, but even better with my dad. Recently my dad and I had to replace the exhaust system in our Honda. We finished very quickly, not because we were good at it, but because having a team made it easier. My basketball skills carried over to mechanical engineering.
During my first job as a dumb 14-year-old, my money blew away like nothing. When I was hired for my second job, I wouldn’t touch my money at all, not only because I wanted to save, but because there was nothing to do in the middle of a pandemic. I have been committed from that day to saving money for my own Civic, so I can play with the car myself.
Every time my neighbor would bring a car in to fix it himself, I would sit outside with him and would ask him if he could teach me what he was doing. My parents would ask me, “Don’t you get bored just watching him?”
I would tell them that I just enjoy learning and being able to see something new each time.
I know I can transfer my skills in engineering into my college experience. Being able to have a passion is something all human beings should be able to master in their lifetime.