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Finding a way during the pandemic

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During Monday’s peaceful protest at the Wool Bowl, athletic directors, coaches, student-athletes and parents attended to let New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham know how they feel. Their sounds of discontent could have reverberated all the way to the governor’s mansion in Santa Fe.

Beginning today, the governor’s increased restrictions will go into effect, limiting gatherings and groups to no more than five.

A month ago, RDR Sports asked Roswell and Goddard senior athletes and parents on Facebook if they wanted to share their senior year with readers. We asked for parents to journal and share their stories with the community as well. For the parents, RDR Sports wanted to know how this pandemic has affected them so far, and their kids, and how they are keeping their kids’ attitudes up. The only school to respond to RDR Sports’ request was Goddard.

RDR Sports will take readers on a journey and show them the toil and emotions this shutdown has taken on the student-athletes and their families as we follow their senior year.

We wanted to find good athletes to spotlight who need a good senior year for scholarship possibilities. We also wanted to find a senior that misses the camaraderie of their teammates and friends, and all that goes into a senior’s final season.

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That focus has shifted to what the athletes will be doing in 4:1 pods — instead of 9:1 pods — beginning today due to the governor’s amended health orders.

For the student-athletes, we will see how they are coping with trying to work out, do virtual learning, and how their morale has been during this crisis. RDR Sports has chosen to follow Gabriel Campos on his journey during his senior year academically and athletically.

For the parents, we will see how the COVID-19 restrictions have affected them and what they are telling their kids because they might miss their senior year. We have selected Oscar Rubio for the parents’ journey. Oscar Rubio will be journaling for Goddard and will give us an insight into his feelings as he watches his son, Fernando Rubio go through his senior season in football and wrestling. We will highlight Rubio next week.

Student-athlete Gabriel Campos

Goddard senior Gabriel Campos plays basketball and baseball and needs to play his senior year. Gabriel has not been able to play baseball since March 7, 2020, against Roswell. Neither has he been able to play travel ball during the summer as he normally does — because of the governor’s health orders.

Goddard played five games in their season last year. Their season came to an end right before they were scheduled to play the opening game of the Goddard Invitational that Friday morning in March against Ruidoso. Later, Goddard was notified their season was canceled.

“We knew our season was over with,” Gabriel said. “We were talking about it in the locker room. We felt that if they shut down in-state teams, then we were not going to play anything else.”

Gabriel comes into the year needing a good campaign to attract scholarship offers. He is hoping teams will get past his physical stature and look at his play. He has to get teams to look past his 5-foot-9 inch, 160-pound frame and see a productive baseball player. Gabriel does not come into his senior year as former Rocket baseball players have in the past. He does not have scholarship offers awaiting him when he decides where he wants to go to school. No, Gabriel needs a good year to attract the attention of Division II schools and junior colleges to continue his baseball career at the next level.

Gabriel is a pitcher and shortstop. As a pitcher, he throws a fastball, changeup, curve, two-seam and four-seam fastball, and a cutter. During this pandemic, Gabriel has worked out every day, throwing with his brother, trying to get better.

So far, his baseball workout has been one of sterilization. Gabriel gets to take batting practice using 20 balls to hit. He has to pick up his own balls and put the balls back in a milk crate. He uses the same 20 balls for every drill during his entire workout. He hits off a tee and once in a while will play soft toss. After the workout is done with the baseballs, he uses Clorox wipes and wipes the balls down. Goddard coach Gilbert Alvarado hits grounders and flyballs to each kid out of their own bucket of balls.

Gabriel says his classes are on Zoom. He has a welding class from 10 to 11 a.m. His teacher in that class will do a PowerPoint and show them how thick they want to weld. He will then have quizzes and a test over those PowerPoints.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Gabriel will have trigonometry, his math class, from 12:15 to 2 p.m. He feels like this class is hard because normally when he is in school, he can go to the board and work the problem out with help, but online it is harder. He feels like his math teacher is not able to give each student one-on-one attention and it makes learning math harder. He also takes English and economics.

“We had a test last week,” Gabriel said. “It was hard to prep, and it is harder when we don’t have a chance to go over the material in class. We can replay the classes on Zoom, but I need hands-on. I have to take math because it is a college requirement.”

According to his dad, Greg Campos, he does not feel virtual learning is good for his son, and he is not the only student having trouble with virtual learning.

“In my opinion, kids need to be in school,” Greg Campos said. “There is nothing like hands-on learning. I think they learn better that way. I feel like if the kids are not involved in something positive, it could lead to things that are not good for them.”

Faith has sustained Gabriel during this pandemic. He feels grateful to God to be able to enjoy his family and wake up to see another day. His main goal this year is to leave a positive impact on Goddard High School. He wants to be able to say thank you to all of his coaches and the teachers who have invested in him and made an impact in his life.

In September, Gabriel had a tryout with Luna College and was offered a preferred walk-on. As of this article, Luna College upped its offer and gave him some scholarship money. Gabriel is keeping his options open and will tryout with the University of Southwest.

RDR Sports will continue to follow Gabriel Campos throughout the school year. We will keep readers updated on his quest to get a baseball scholarship.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.