The East Side of Los Angeles, also known as East Los Angeles, is a rough neighborhood for boys to grow up in. In the streets, no one showed us how to become young men. Many of us grew up without our fathers guiding us or teaching us right from wrong. Our dads are always working, or doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Some were part of a gang, others just chose not to be in our lives.
So, the ways that us boys grow up in East L.A is different than usual. When we were about five or six years old, we would join almost every sports team. Most boys in our community would join a team at different parks in East L.A. Belvedere Park is known for baseball, soccer, and basketball. Salazar Park is known for the only football team in East L.A. They were called the East L.A Bobcats, but it got switched to Bulldogs now. Obregon Park is best known for baseball, basketball, and soccer too. When we played against other cities we would see that the parents, especially the fathers were really involved in their child’s sports team. For us, our coaches were our guides and mentors in the sports we were in. They taught us the rules and fundamentals of football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. Our community became our family because of the people that stepped up to be our coaches. Without them, many of us wouldn’t have father figures.