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A parent’s take on the pandemic

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From left, Nate Davis, quarterback of the Duke City Gladiators; and Fernando Rubio. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Sports Editor’s note: Oscar Rubio takes the readers of the Roswell Daily Record sports pages behind the scenes of what it is like to live and prepare for the upcoming season during this pandemic. Goddard senior Fernando Rubio shares what he and his parents are going through in hopes of playing a season. As the gyms are closed and virtual learning continues, the only real option for Fernando was to pair up with a friend to work out due to the health order’s restrictions on mass gatherings in mid-August.

By Oscar Rubio
Special to RDR Sports

Fernando’s mentality was “Dedication has no off season,”  this is year-round training. Fernando has been used to playing three sports: football, wrestling, and track and field. As his parents, we do our best to guide and help him continue to work and be self-efficient, and at times, present him with incentives for working hard and give him some sort of payoff for his efforts.

My son and I took a road trip on Sept. 26, 2020 to watch the Big Texas rivalry game between Texas Tech and Texas Longhorns. I figured Fernando can learn all aspects of the game even from the bleachers. He enjoyed the game with a final score of 63- 56, with the Longhorns winning. Fernando asked questions about other states’ restrictions versus our own.

Soon after that, he was blessed by a phone call from Nate Davis, (former San Francisco 49er quarterback and current quarterback for the Duke City Gladiators). Mr. Davis called my son and invited him to Albuquerque to elevate his game, improve on his skills, and show him a professional look on the aspect of the game. I would like to also thank Martino Theus (coach for the Duke City Gladiators) for welcoming my son with open arms, while guiding and pushing him along the way.

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Fernando still attends the trainings from the Duke City Gladiators every opportunity he gets and continues to this day, and will continue to. Sure, it is difficult where students struggle with online learning, in my opinion every kid should be back in school. This is crushing the kids’ spirits, not being back in class and not playing sports. I will never believe sports are “just a game” and “non-essential” to their mental, physical and emotional health and well-being.

I cannot imagine what Fernando feels like and what he’s going through during this whole pandemic. For him not to have his senior memories to look forward to or not even being able to step foot in class. We are very grateful parents that Fernando is a very self-motivated young man. He has strived to graduate with honors. He is very aware, and it has become his priority when it comes to his grades and staying busy conditioning in preparation to transition to the next level, to play college football.

From left, Fernando Rubio, Nate Davis and Nathaniel Stone. (Submitted Photo)

As parents, we can only hope that he will come out of these “hiccups and crossroads” in his last year of high school more resilient and embrace the change. Nov. 13, 2020 marked the shelter-in-place health order. He was stuck with garage weight workouts, pulling ties by himself, and running parachute sprints in an empty field. I’m truly thankful to have had Larry Stone (Nathaniel Stone’s dad) on board to keep both of our sons busy. We made countless trips to Alto, New Mexico, for high-elevation conditioning and Mescalero Sand Dunes conditioning.

By this time, the whole sports community was feeling the impact and severity of the pandemic. Cross country and volleyball were scheduled to start but unfortunately were pushed back or rescheduled for spring like all other sports. Hopefully when things get back to normal, there is renewed appreciation and enthusiasm for all sports — crosstown rivals, pep rallies, letterman jackets, and local newspaper write ups. Young athletes, please don’t take it for granted just as we’ve learned, it can all be over in an instant.

As we got closer to holiday seasons, I was at a loss of words because this pandemic was not going away anytime soon. I thought about all the families impacted and their loss of a family member and had an empty chair at the table during the holidays. After New Year’s, the world was getting ready for the COVID vaccines and getting started to get back to some sense of normalcy.

To all sports parents, coaches are teachers and teachers are coaches, both play huge roles in the development of our kids. If you want your child to be the best they can be, encourage them to listen and respect both. I am grateful for Fernando having a few options to further his education and play on the gridiron. It must be tough, especially getting closer to signing day, to committing and wondering if these kids will have one last season to get seen, get noticed, get recruited.

So be grateful if any colleges are interested in you, because 93% of high school athletes get zero recruiting calls. Being an athlete at any level opens so many doors it’s not even funny. The teammates you have and memories that are made are priceless gifts that can never be taken away. If you can be part of something greater than yourself, take advantage of it.

I would like to acknowledge Coach Chris White and his staff and commend them for everything they do for these young men especially during these tough times. They have gone above and beyond as wonderful role models. These young men are not just an “X” or an “O” in their play book. They check with them on their grades and make sure these young athletes are continuing to strive high and are there for them with any personal issues and mentoring them. We appreciate all you men do and your continuous support, keep up the great work.

It’s now January, New Year vaccines are now available, and things are looking promising. High school is allowing our kids to practice in pods (smaller groups). Us as parents need to continue to support our kids’ agendas and be grateful to the coaches and all their guidance as we know it can be overwhelming and tough for them to understand the uncertainty. These young men and women would not be as tough without support from single parents, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings and their community.

If I can leave a final message to our athletes, truth is, it’s not the expensive equipment, it is not the private lessons, it’s not the fancy travel team, it’s not the exclusive camps and showcases, and it’s certainly not the schools and divisions you commit at, it’s whether or not you are willing to do what others will not do.