I should like you. You are the first true Latino star of the NFL. Millions of Latinos around the United States feel proud of your accomplishments. My Facebook wall was splattered with posts of praise for your feats. It could be because of the ESPN The Magazine article that makes this mention when you were still at USC:
Sanchez chose USC not just because of the program’s star power, but also because it kept him close to his family in Southern California. He didn’t care that it meant he’d likely sit on the bench for two seasons, maybe three. He didn’t care that, for a while, he’d be as faceless to fans of the program as the Trojans water boy.
Or so he thought.
As he click-clacks through the gate and onto the practice field this summer day, Sanchez sees them before they see him: men in Mexican wrestling masks and serapes, flanked by other fans carrying signs of support. For him. When the crowd finally recognizes him, a cry goes out: “¡VIVA SANCHEZ!”
It is at this moment that Sanchez realizes he is playing for not just himself, his family and his team. Whether he likes it or not, he’s playing for people whose names sound like his; for those from south of the border who work thankless jobs for little pay; for those who are reminded daily that they live in a country that does not know what to do with them. These are the fans who once cheered for Valenzuela and Plunkett and now cheer for Garciaparra and De La Hoya. They are his fans too. On this day, Sanchez has arrived in Los Angeles.
So while you broke my heart last Sunday, I will be following your career and hoping that Latino and NFL can become two words that will fit together nicely.
Now about your coach…