Thematic Analysis of Misery by Stephen King (2)





Mexican Americans in Sports

Sports in America is one thing that brings people together. Ranging from baseball, basketball, football, boxing and soccer, you will often find so many people who have come together to cheer on their teams. Sports is a great thing as one can be a professional and get paid really well, gone are the days everyone wanted to be a doctor or a pilot as now we can be able to tap into talent. Through sports scholarship many students have earned themselves slots in school where they get to study for free in return play for the school team. Over the years there are stereotypes that have been developed regarding sports and although these stereotypes include the fact that often blacks excel in sports. Although these is true, groups such as the Mexican Americans often do not get the ovation that they deserve. There have been even very many Mexican Americans that have had a major contribution in our sports world and we need to also talk about them while we talk about people who have had an impact in sports.

For over a century in the united states, Mexican Americans athletes have participated in both professional sports as well as community based interscholastic. People of the barrios as well as the ranchos descent have been using sports as way for leisure, recreation as well as bringing community bonding. There ae very few historians that have focused on sport participation for Latinos. This paper looks at important individuals that have been on the world of sport chronologically spanning from around 1920s to present time. The paper will analyze the sporting experience that the individuals had and how sporting life has had an impact on both their lives and the community (Jorger, pg. 67-71). There are those players that used their sports influence to pull themselves out of poverty and help their community. The Mexican sports men and women have also used their positions to voice out the issues that minority immigrant groups go through in America.

Mexican Americans and Sports book by Jorge Iber has an impact on the emerging comprehension of how important sport is especially to minority population in the united states. This could probably explain why African Americans who are also a minority group seem to excel in sports. Through sports, most of these individuals often find a sense of belonging. There has been numerous evidence on how Latina have used leisure, culture and sports as a way of constructing both gender and sexual identities (Jorger, pg. 98-109). Most towns that are predominantly resided by Mexicans have often exhibited high number of crime rate and gang related activities. However, there have been development where sports are being used to preoccupy the young children and nature their various talents thus deterring them from getting engaged in gang related activities.

Most of Latino athletes who have excelled in the sports world will attest to the fact that most of their success is not individual achievement alone. Most of these sports men and women have received support from key community leaders, coaches, friends, family and their fans as well. This goes to prove that their achievement is celebrated communally. Just like most immigrant groups, sports have facilitated the adjustment of Mexican Americans into the urban setting introducing their children to the mainstream American culture but at the same time trying to preserve their ethnic identity. Sports has offered the Latinos an escape from the grim social; realities that they get to encounter in their day to day life. In trying to achieve equality in the world of sports, Mexican Americans have tried to re-negotiate issues including nationalism, race relation as well as citizenship so that they are able to get a sense of belonging in this foreign land.

Latino participation in sports has not been a walk in the park but has rather been shaped by class, racial as well as the gender status. The firs key obstacles that they have faced is the high financial muscle that one needs in order to participate in sports. Most Latino families struggle to put food on their table thus most put work as a priority and not sports. This has envied opportunity to several individuals who have talent but are unable to forgo working and focus on building their skills. There are cost associated with getting right training equipment, buying sports gear, transportation cost as well as training charges that has discouraged parents from enrolling their children in organized sports (George, pg. 87-107). Another challenge is depiction by the media. Most English–language sports media have continually misunderstood the Latinos. Most media have used racial as well as gender stereotypes in depicting athletes. An example is the complaint by Roberto Clemente who was a baseball player stated that he hated how English media often quoted him phonetically making him appear illiterate or poorly educated. Some Latinos have also expressed the lack of commercial endorsement due to perceived language barrier. Richard Pancho Gonzalez who was a tennis player threatened to renounce his American citizenship and play for Mexico if the print media did not treat him well (Greenberg, pg. 671-676).

La Colonia neighborhood in Oxnard, California has often been known as a hotspot for gangs and crime but it is also known for producing toughest boxers in the united states. In the year 1978, Community Service Organization tried to use sports as way of fighting crime. A La Colonia Youth Boxing Club was established it the aim that it will help draw the children from the streets and away from gangs by encouraging them to participate in sports. The boxing trainer Louie Tiny Pationo began a youth program in his backyard and he would later get the backing from the city in opening a fully equipped gym that would help the youth train in professionally. By helping their children, the city officials hoped crime rates in the city would reduce and the city would now be known for creating something positive. This strategy worked as La Colonia Boxing gym became a refuge to many troubled kids’ who would later become top professional boxers,

Fernando Vargas who is a household named in the boxing world is a product of the gym youth club. Growing up he had no father figure and had been suspended out of school severally. However, after he met Garcia who would guide him in the sporting world, he strayed participating in boxing professionally. Vargas became among the youngest people to win the world light middleweight title. There were other boxers that were also trained by Garcia including Victor Ortiz, Brandon Rios, Danny Perez, Robert Garcia his son and Miguel Angel. The name of the gym would later change from La Colonia Boxing gym to La Casa de Campeones which loosely translates to house of champions has it has produced top-notch fighter all whom are, Mexican Americans (Fernando). The success of these gym they converted angry rebellious kids who were ready to go into the streets to become criminals into professionals who are making an impact in the world clearly shows how important sports is in the community and why the government need to support it.

Aside from boxing, Mexican Americans have also had an impact in baseball. Latinos make up highest number of the minority group that play baseball. Esteban Bellan was among the first Mexican American to play baseball in the professional league. In 1990, percentage of Latino players who played in the league had grown from 13% to 30% by 2006 (Samuel, pg. 101-106). Those who have succeeded have stories of how baseball helped them escape poverty. However, they still various challenges including different American culture and language barrier (Bob). They have also been involved in the American football. Although there are not as Many, Mexican Americans who have participated in the NFL games, the few who have participated have proved that everyone is capable of doing something. Danny Villanueva was among the earliest field-goal kickers in the NFL from the Mexican descent. Just like mentioned before, history of Mexican American football is not only limited to individual’s stars but rather include the efforts of coaches, teammates as well as the fans. The best example is when Donna High School football team were able to win the Texas championship. Donna was a racially segregated town but both Mexicans and whites came out to support their team which was composed of 10 Mexicans and 8 whites and they were able to win the games. The team was considered an underdog and was competing against a top ranked team. The Mexican Americans that worked as migrant workers against their parents pulled a surprising win a proof of what they could do if given an opportunity.

Basketball is a sport also loved by the Mexicans and there have been several Mexicans that have been featured in the NBA including Alfred Butch Lee. Basketball among the Mexican Americans brought a sense of community and provided a platform where they got to interact with other ethnic groups. In South Chicago between the year 1930-1940, Mexican youth travelled across America with their basketball teams becoming exposed of various cultures and understanding how their ethnic identities were understood by other people (Carlos, pg. 58). In the 2008 documentary, Basketball in the Barrio, it portrayed how Rocky Galarza founded unique basketball camp in El Segundo Barrio a Mexican American neighborhood in the united states (Jorger, pg. 1-15). The space provided a place Latino youth could come train basketball and escape the street life that would have led the into committing crimes.

Women have also not been lefty behind in fighting for a space at the table sports women who are Mexican American have achieved in various fields including Nancy Lopez a known golfer. Most women grew up in a surrounding where they were encouraged to just take up house duties ND many are into beauty. However, there are those that have shown that women too are good in sports. Lisa Fernandez a pitcher for softball team won Olympics gold medal in 1996 and 2000 inspiring so many girls. Women like Monica Gonzalez who is the founder of Gonzo Soccer has been vocal in encouraging more women to play (Williams). In 2017, Gonzalez was among those who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in collaboration with ex-professionals and the Equal Playing Field Initiative and played a match to raise awareness on gender inequality in sports.

In conclusion, Mexican Americans have had an impact in our sports world. It is important we begin to understand the contemporary roles that the Latino athletes have in the U.S sports. For the various trams, leagues and the sports network this may be an opportunity to expand the market an untapped fan base as well. Despite the barriers that they have to go through including race, gender inequalities and culture, Mexican Americans are fighting all odds to also have a voice and say in the sports world.

Woks Cited

 Bob Harkins, “Is Baseball Turning Into Latin America’s Game?”, at, accessed July 19, 2012.

Carlos Ortiz, “Eet Eez Time to KO the Stereotype of the Latino Athletes.” Nuestro Magazine, July 1977, 58.

Fernando Dominguez, “Ready to Rumble: La Colonia Holding a Full House.” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1996. B3.

George Sanchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 87-107.

Greenberg, Bradley S., et al. “Local newspaper coverage of Mexican Americans.” Journalism Quarterly 60.4 (1983): 671-676.

Jorge Iber et al., Latinos in U.S. Sport: A History of Isolation, Cultural Identity, and Acceptance (Human Kinetics, 2011), 67-71.

Jorge Iber and Samuel O. Regalado, Mexican Americans and Sports: A Reader on Athletics and Barrio Life (Lubbock, TX: Texas A & M University Press, 2007), 1-15.

Samuel Regalado, “Image is everything: Latin Baseball Players and the United States Press,” Studies in American Popular Culture 13 (1994): 101-106.

Stodolska, Monika, et al. ““I was born in the hood”: Fear of crime, outdoor recreation and physical

activity among Mexican-American urban adolescents.” Leisure Sciences 35.1 (2013): 1-15.

Williams, Lena. “Hispanic Female Athletes Are Few and Far Between.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Nov. 2002,