I believe “the dream” for any athlete, started the minute he or she watched a game on tv, or was at a venue, seeing pro athletes for the first time, aware of what was happening. For me, I can point to three incidents.

1982, I was only in 2nd grade, but I remember watching Paolo Rossi lead Italy to the World Cup title in Spain. I remember the crowd chanting and the Televisa announcer’s high octane call of the action. The majesty of the Copa Mundial got me so hooked on soccer, I got the rest of the kids in my section of the Imperial Manor apartments in south San Diego (right between Sidro and IB) into soccer. We played “metegol” (shootouts) everyday, wearing the low budget goalie gloves (they were gold to me) that my pops bought me at La Popular sports shop in TJ.

1983, Russ Hall (Dude was awesome, he went out of his way to make a bunch of us little Mexican kids love sports) our coach from the South Bay Rec Center league, took our flag football team to watch the Chargers and Rams scrimmage in Training Camp. The moment I saw Dan Fouts thread one into Kellen Winslow’s hands across the middle, I knew I wanted to be a QB (that thought was cemented after watching a young buck named John Elway with a rifle that left crosses on receiver’s chests).

Of course 1984, the Padres went to their first World Series, and I remember eating a Padres Pack from McDonalds, watching the man who would become my hero, Tony Gwynn, use that sweet cut as he went “oppo”. Padres became Cub-busters and everyone wanted that t-shirt. By the way, former Dodger Steve Garvey may have been getting more attention, but TG19 was the one batting .350.

From those key moments, the little “guzanito” in me was born. The “guzanito,” is the little fire in the pit of the stomach that motivates you to do whatever it is you were born to do. It’s the feeling of “I can’t wait to pick up a bat, or a football, shoot a 3, or shoot on goal.”

C’mon, you know the feeling. It’s the one you used to get when you were a kid when you knew you had a game that day.

It’s the one you get when trying to find out if you made all stars in little league.

It’s in the huddle with you, as you’re calling the next play, under the lights on a Friday night.

It’s there when scouts are present to watch the pitcher, only to see you light him up for two doubles and a jack.

It’s that feeling that drove you to handle your business in class, because there was no way you were being ruled academically ineligible, even if polygon inequality postulates and betweeness theorems were not your thing. AC + CB better not equal F. You were not missing a game.

The “guzanito” is with you all the way through college and any levels beyond high school.

In fact, the “guzanito” still jolts me, a 35 year old father of two, every time I see people playing a pick up game. And I’ll admit it, I carry a glove, cleats, and a wiffle bat and ball in the car, just in case anyone wants to have a go. The “guzanito” makes you the competitor you are, and that will never die. It’s a part of you.

This blog will teach you about the “guzanito” in some of today’s star athletes. We will find out what it was like before they became stars. What factors contributed to their growth as they were being scouted or recruited. That way, you can ask yourself how their experiences relate to yours. We will find out what the road to success was like, so that you understand your own journey. One that may have begun the first time you sat down to watch a game with your dad, that magical moment the “guzanito” told you, that you were born to play.

See my next post for a little sample of what types of takes we will be bringing in to you…from time to time.

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