Personal Column: I am NOT a Football Player, I am an artist


Ricardo Martin works a video camera on the field of the Duncanville Vs. DeSoto football game for the scoreboard. (Emlyn Almanza photo)

“You can’t catch me!” I say while sprinting off down the street.

I run until I’m surprised by my face hitting a brick wall, my father.

“You out of breath and you ain’t even running that fast,” he chuckles, “Don’t worry. You’ll be training for football AND track really soon!”

I was never in shape as a child. I never regretted a second plate… or a third one either. I loved baking and sweets. I was inside baking cakes while my other male friends were playing video games and shooting toy guns. I just truly enjoyed the process of creating something that people would eat.  Cooking brings a smile to my face.

I baked when I had a bad day. I baked when I had a good day. Sometimes I baked just to bake.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t capable of being a star athlete, I just didn’t want to. My passion was in art and things that had meaning behind it. I  like things such as poetry and design. ESPN has never played on my television even when I was an athlete. I’d rather watch a cooking show, a dance competition or pretty much anything colorful and artistic.

In fourth grade I stopped being a boy scout and became the center fielder for the Tigers, a recreation sports team in my hometown. Baseball seemed safer than football and I knew I wasn’t fast enough for track yet. I became so swamped with school and baseball that I barely played outside anymore. Even more importantly, I couldn’t bake as much anymore. I enjoyed playing baseball but it was a hobby more than anything. I knew the game but if you were to ask me about the Texas Rangers’ last game, I couldn’t tell you anything.

I ended up playing football anyway. I had an amazing arm from throwing baseballs and I managed to become the first string quarterback at tryouts. Although I succeeded in the sport, I still wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to go into the NFL, the MLB or even the Olympics, but I didn’t have a choice not to play sports.

My freshman year, I played baseball and I also tried photography for the first time. In my freshman connections class, we visited the journalism class to hear about their program. At the time, freshmen couldn’t get in any career class without having the perquisites they had to take their freshmen year. Not only did I discover that I liked journalism but I gravitated towards graphic design as well. Placement, colors, alignment, and Photoshop excited me more than a Touch Down.

This was okay though. In high school, I found out who I was and who I was becoming. It didn’t matter if I was the quarterback or the valedictorian or even the weird kid at all the events with a camera. I am who I am because that is who I am.

Our gender roles are chosen before we are even born. Airplanes and trucks are for boys and jump rope and flowers are for girls. Teens constantly struggle with gender identity and the gender roles constructed by the world. I encourage you to try things you’ve never tried before. Join clubs to see if you like it or not. Don’t think inside nor outside of the box, get rid of the box entirely. Society creates these harsh black lines of what we are supposed to be and who we are supposed to be. Sorry to break it to you society, but I am NOT a football player I am an artist.