Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Roswell. Roswell? Yes, that’s Roswell, New Mexico. Do you mean the Roswell with the aliens? Yes. That is the reaction most people get when they tell people they’re moving here. Certainly, no one would move here except for a job.
Upon moving here, most people think they will move here for the job and to gain the experience they need, then be on their way to a more desirable location. I’m sure that was Lisa Sandoval’s thinking when she graduated college from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and Fort Hays State University with a master’s.
Lisa Sandoval was looking for an athletic training job when she put her application in at Roswell High School. The part she didn’t count on was falling in love with a coach, Art Sandoval, having two kids and buying a house. Now, 22 years later, Lisa Sandoval has been the only athletic trainer at Roswell High: Where have the years gone?
From Lisa Sandoval’s perch, she has sat on the sidelines of every sports team at Roswell High. In softball season she has seen life through the eyes of a coach’s wife, as well as from a mother’s perspective. Many coaches’ spouses have to sit in the stands and hear what they have to say about their spouse. In softball season, she is on the sidelines and hears everything her husband, Art Sandoval hears. Lisa Sandoval even knows what it’s like to treat her own daughter’s (Sheyanne Sandoval) injuries.
It was in the opening game of the playoffs at Albuquerque. Roswell was in a tight game against Kirtland Central; a ground ball was hit and Sheyanne was charging in to make a play on the ball when she was run over by a Kirtland base runner going to third base. Sheyanne Sandoval was hit so hard she laid crumpled on the dirt not moving. Both Lisa and Art moved out as parents to see if she was OK. The game was halted for 30 minutes. She ended up being OK, but the Lady Coyotes could not overcome a 2-0 deficit.
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“My best memories from high school,” Sheyanne Sandoval said, “are going to state and playing for my dad my senior year. It meant a lot to play for him. I didn’t think it meant a lot as a freshman but when I became a senior, I realized that it was something not everyone can do. My mom has helped a lot, especially when me and my dad have had bad days. She would always say, ‘it’s fine, it’s softball, it’s not your life.’”
High school fans think it’s easy to be a coach. Many fans don’t listen to the phone calls or read the emails and texts that are sent to coaches who are upset about a game and don’t mind telling the coach what they did wrong and how their choices cost the team the game.
Many of those parents say they care about winning, but only if their kids play whether they deserve to play or not. When a coach coaches their own kids, then surely nepotism is at play, and the kid possibly could not deserve it. When a coach plays their kid, they open themselves up to scrutiny and to be second-guessed even more.
Such is the life of a coach, but more importantly, a coach’s wife and kids. The word coach does not separate itself from family members and if the season is not a good one, the stress is unbearable. Lisa Sandoval has had to endure it all in the early years of Art’s coaching career, beginning in Dexter to now in Roswell.
Lisa Sandoval knows what it’s like to hear things said about her husband, Art Sandoval.
She also knows what it’s like to call time-out between a father trying to get the best out of his daughters, Sheyanne and Victoria, where he can see their potential. Trying to get them to unlock that potential is another thing.
“We’ve always told our girls,” Lisa Sandoval said, “if you don’t want to do it (play softball), don’t do it.”
Lisa Sandoval knows that every day is not rainbows and Disneyland as the wife of a coach or the mother being coached by the man she loves. She knows what it’s like to hear doors being slammed and calling a timeout between father and daughter, and telling Art, you’re coaching them too hard, give them space.
“I’ve told Art,” Lisa Sandoval said, “that every kid gets to go home and not listen to you and she should, too.”
And Art Sandoval knows what it’s like to have his daughter Sheyanne come back after her freshman year at Trinidad State Junior College, after she hit a walk-off home run to give her team the regional championship and wrap her arms around him and tell him thank you for yelling at me and coaching me hard, because, at college, her coach yells and coaches her hard.
“I think Art coaching Sheyanne hard has prepared her for college,” Lisa Sandoval said. “It’s not like high school, you have to work your butt off to earn your position. She’s not afraid to get yelled at.”
Lisa Sandoval knows what it’s like to be a partner and go on this journey with her husband to give their daughters, Sheyanne and Victoria, the best they can offer them in competition and travel during the summers. The Sandoval family knows what it’s like to clip coupons and do the rewards points on hotels, gas and to eat sandwiches they made just to keep going and to give their daughters the opportunity to play against the best competition. Little did the Sandovals know that they were teaching their daughter life lessons off the softball field that extends to life.
“There are a lot of times I didn’t know if we were going to make it,” Art Sandoval said. “My kids were so special to me that I wanted them to succeed. We sacrificed a lot of things for the kids so that we could do the travel tournaments. We want them to be successful academically and athletically. Just like every family, we were on a budget. We did what we had to do to survive and I think in the long run that will help my kids because they have seen us struggle and be successful as well. It’s made all of us better people.”
Sometimes life is a struggle and there are sacrifices for the things you want. Sometimes the cost of going to the next level is you’re only home in the summer for two to three weeks, but more importantly, the Sandovals have taught their children they were choosing their life and their destiny.
The family was making it happen instead of waiting for it to happen with hard work, determination and a plan that they can be successful — they have modeled it for their children every day of their lives and it’s not about sports or softball but academics, treating people right and keeping their word and making the right decisions.
As Sheyanne Sandoval begins her sophomore year at Trinidad State Junior College, through 11 games this season, she is batting .571 with one home run and five RBIs, as she has scored 10 runs. Her team is off to a fast 6-1 start. This season, she has replaced two All-American shortstops that have made it to the next level. Her coach, Steve Swazo thinks she is in for a big year.
Sheyanne Sandoval is looking to build off of last season’s success in which she hit .312 and had eight home runs. She grew as a player when she came up with the bases load, her team faced elimination from Otero, as they trailed, 2-0 in the title game. Sheyanne Sandoval hit a bases-loaded single to right field to drive in the winning run and win the regional championship in walk-off fashion.
“I learned that college softball is a faster-paced game,” Sheyanne Sandoval said. “I’m more comfortable now and I’m not guessing at what I’m doing. Him (Art) yelling at me more than everyone else — I’m used to it, it doesn’t even faze me anymore. I wish I would have hit the weights sooner. The key for me this season is to let things go mentally and not dwell on the bad things.”
One of the most enduring moments of the family was after Roswell had lost to Alamogordo, 5-1. It was just the team hugging it out after the loss behind the fences. There was a special moment where father and daughter were locked in an embrace with mom standing nearby with tears in her eyes because the whole family knew one chapter was closing and another one was beginning.
Sheyanne and family will have another decision to make at the end of this season. Sheyanne has drawn the interest of Division I and II schools for her to continue her softball career after this season. Some of the schools are; Louisana-Southern University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Lubbock Christian University, Western New Mexico University, Colorado State University at Pueblo, West Texas A&M Pratt University in New York, Colorado Christian University adn Adams State University.
“It has been worth every penny,” Art Sandoval said, “it’s been worth every sweat, every tear, it’s been worth everything we have done in life as a family. I’m extremely proud of my wife, kids, my parents, my family — it’s been a group effort. I have no regrets to my kids playing athletics — we might not have had it back then and we had to work for it, but it’s paying off for us now.