My time with the football team started this fall. Head Coach Adrian Medrano brought me into the program with a warm welcome after a pandemic season.
I can remember how I felt finally being able to be on the sideline again. Before being a part of the football program I was on the cheer team freshman year and was a student aid with the athletic trainer sophomore year.
As the season rolled around, my heart finally felt at home. I don’t know if it is the smell of the grass or the wind in my hair but it all plays a huge part in the atmosphere. While we traveled around southern California playing different teams, I learned to capture the actual essence of this team.
It has been a journey, the countless laughs and being able to witness the hard work they put in gave me a chance to appreciate the game a lot more.
My game day routine can be a little hectic, from taking pictures to live-tweeting scores and writing down QB statistics. Before the game, I will usually have a conversation with seniors Jerahmy Fuentes, Elijah Mitchell, Jacob Jimenez and Ethan Chavez. The conversations vary from talking about our competitors or sometimes we talk about our day.
The bus rides are a story on their own. I turn to my left to see Angel Diaz singing and Macario Robles on my right taking a nap. But the indescribable feeling of coming home from an away game, and the traditions a small bus ride home can hold. No matter how far or how close we travel.
I can remember coming back to “The Ranch” after defeating the Montebello Oilers and sitting around Josiah Cabrera and Anthony Bonilla. As soon as we headed onto Passons one player shouted “Quiet on Passons.”
It became so quiet that with every movement you did, everyone could hear. What “quiet on Passons” seems to mean is they are coming home and paying respect to the place they all play so hard for.
But something I truly can never forget is the team meal and their prayer. It is such a humbling moment and a moment where everyone just appreciates the game and their team. You feel the energy, the prayer being led by senior Andrew “Hollywood” Varela.
“It is the calm before the storm, and it is a privilege being able to guide us all with the word of God,” Varela said.
At first, I questioned my place on the sideline because everywhere I went I stood as the only girl. I had a different personality than the guys. I listen to Taylor Swift and they listen to NBA Youngboy. I don’t think this season could’ve played out any different if it wasn’t for the brotherhood they hold themselves to.
The coaches have played a role in how I experienced this football season. The way they teach this team mirrors real-life lessons. These lessons will stay with this team forever. And I think that’s what football is about. When both Medrano and Coach Medina explained to me that “You need to learn how to play the game [life].”It really helped me with how I approached my life problems.
The best representation of football now has to be an assistant coach and former quarterback Chris Andrade. His love for the game brought him back home. I’ve had conversations with him and he always showed me that it is more than football, it is about what you learn while you play.
And honestly being one of the only girls that are a part of the program has its ups and downs. In a cheer team, you have twenty plus girls to talk about boys and makeup. But with thirty-plus guys constantly being around you the conversation is far from normal. Although the conversations aren’t as normal, I can say that those tend to be the best conversations.
As the season ended I can truly say how proud I am to have been part of something amazing. A few made this season special, not only for their successes on the field but also for their efforts off the field. I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience and for the friendships I built.
To all the boys, thank you for always making me feel like I am a valuable part of the program. I am so proud of you all. The way you played this season has made your city, your school proud. Congratulations on a historic season.
And most importantly the coaches, you all made my last year at El Rancho an unforgettable experience, the hard work you all put into these young men’s lives doesn’t go unnoticed. I am so grateful for all of the words of advice you gave to me.
I have gained an experience of a lifetime, where the blue pride runs high and I can always remember that “Once a Don, always a Don.”