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All my life my parents and grandparents tried to give me the most that they could. When they were younger, they lived in Mexico but they didn't have many good resources or access to financial health. Living in Mexico was very hard for them because they had little money and it was difficult for them to get a job. My grandparents could barely afford their house and had little access to water. Adding to the difficulties, my grandparents were trying to provide for the needs of their three children. So, they decided to take a step further and accomplish their goals by coming to the USA.

As a young adult, my dad was dealing with his own struggles. He would have to ride two buses to school every day and go to work right after, since money was an issue. In America, he faced challenges trying to find a job, while trying to help support his parents and siblings. As a result of their living situation, my dad never really had time to do any extracurricular activities. He never had the opportunity to play any sports like soccer because there were often accidents or a catastrophe that prevented him from playing well. Knowing he wanted a better future for his family, he worked hard instead of playing. He became an electrician at the age of 17 and being a dad at a young age encouraged him more. My mom and dad have always been the type to push me into sports. They always wanted me to play sports outside of school because they like to see me play and feel proud of me.

Basketball was the first sport I played where I tried to do my best. Even if I lost some of my games or didn't make any points, which really made me upset, I still did my best. My family tells me my passion is good but I need to work on not having a negative attitude, to try harder next time and never give up. It's good that they give me advice because it allows me to try to work on things and lets them know that I care. They want me to have these experiences and to provide me with better opportunities to prepare me for the future.

This is why basketball is my favorite sport to play. I don't have a passion for learning in school but basketball is different. I really like basketball because when I score points, I get more confidence. When we win, it gives me hope that my team can succeed in future games. Our 8th grade basketball team was not the best but I learned how to be a better teammate. When sports came along, I started paying more attention in my classes.

I started doing better because my coach was very strict. He would say that he would not allow us to play if we didn't have good grades or if we got in trouble in any way. He said if we did, we would not be on the team because he would not deal with that kind of behavior. I wanted to succeed and maybe be known for being a good player. The sports I've played for the school are soccer, basketball, and softball. I plan to keep playing sports in high school. I have already talked to the high school basketball coach and he invited me to their summer league. I am very excited for every opportunity to continue playing basketball.

Basketball is like my therapy. It helps me because I am very competitive and I love playing sports. They distract me from my problems. Sports have become my new path for moving forward.

© Rose Marlene Bailon. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.

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