The return of Ozomatli to Arizona

21 02 2012

The new battleground for La Raza is Tucson, where the school boarded recently voted to ban Mexican American Studies classes in the district. Since last month, titles of those classes have changed and curriculum has changed so that no ethnic studies courses can be taught.

To that end, Ozomatli, one of my favorite bands who also happen to be very politically conscientious, set feet back in Arizona after about two years of avoiding the state because of anti-immigration legislation. The band came to raise awareness and support the cause of SaveEthnicStudies.org, which was started to fight this government oppression and now has plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by 11 Tucson teachers.

As one who minored in ethnic studies in college, this is a fight close to my heart. The state superintendent has banned ethnic studies from being taught. BANNED. Seriously? So helping students of color better understand their identity is not allowed. Opponents say it promotes hatred and resentment of whites and others.

Laughable. Confusing. But I digress.

My wife and I went to the show last Saturday to show our support for the cause. And as usual, Ozomatli — I’m an Ozohead por vida having seen them perform live 7 or 8 times — brought the house down. And band member Raul Pacheco preached to the choir, so to speak, telling a sympathetic audience that this fight and these educators need our support.

Photos below.

The Rialto Theater in Tucson AZ

 

Stephanie and I after the show

 

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It’s a familia thing

17 01 2012

And I know a lot of you understand.

Family. My dad stressed the importance of it so many times growing up, because ours was so far removed from our relatives in Southern California and other places. Sometimes it feels like it still is.

Which makes those times when you get to see a lot of tios and primos and second cousins and parents’ cousins and spouses and babies, etc., so rewarding.

R.I.P Tia

The paying of respects to Aunt Agnes, or as some called her Aunt Tita, brought us together this past weekend in the San Fernando Valley. It was sad to say goodbye to the matriarch of the Romero family, who lived to age 98 and was one of the most kind and giving women any of us ever knew. But in celebration of her life, the Romero/Paredes/Romo/Jiron families, plus folks from my mom’s side of the family who graciously took their time to be there for us, were able to come together.

First and second cousins, love my family!

It was just nice to see so many people again and catch up. I learned a lot. Talked to Uncle Smiley about his time in Eugene when he went up to Oregon to go to school. Got in a lot of photos. Caught up with Cousin Maggie and Paul and took my turn as being the butt of a few jokes.

It seems like no matter how long I go without seeing them, every time I do I feel like I just saw them last week. We’re good like that.

Family is precious. Make it a big part of your life and it will help you feel fulfilled.

Me with my sisters! We only get to see each other a few times a year. Love you both and I'm so proud of you! PS Thanks Maggie for posting the photo.





My year in review, adios 2011

30 12 2011

Another great year in “mi vida deportiva,” but not just in my life of sports, but life in general. I’ll skip the worst of the year and focus on the best moments. Because I can.

Year 2 in Arizona is coming to a close, but it began with the BCS national championship game here in Glendale, and I was fortunate enough to cover it. Even though my beloved Oregon Ducks lost, I was pretty proud of their effort and I can say that I was there. 

Later in January 2011 I took my first trip to the new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., new home for Oregon basketball. Awesome place. I’ll always cherish old McArthur Court though.

In February my wife bought me an I-phone for Valentine’s Day. She keeps wanting me to say that the device has made my life better and easier, so I’ll say it: she’s right. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty sweet.

February and March were spent covering Major League Soccer training and baseball spring training. I was very busy, needless to say.

After celebrating the end of spring training with dinner at Morton’s — ooh, swanky! — baseball season began. I went home to Portland in April for my birthday and attended the inaugural Portland Timbers match at Jeld-Wen Field. It poured rain all night, but I was under the overhang and stayed dry and the Timbers thrilled the sellout crowd with the win.

Later in April I went to the two Phoenix Coyotes NHL playoff games against Detroit. The Coyotes got dominated but the atmosphere in Jobing.com Arena was fun. It’s cool to have an NHL team right in my own back yard.

At the end of the month I took my wife to see my favorite rap artist ever, DJ Quik. And we met Mr. Blake in person! Great night.

Then, it was off to see the world. Read the rest of this entry »





Four reasons to love Tucson

27 09 2011

The Romeros went to Tucson this past Saturday to see my Oregon Ducks play the Arizona Wildcats.

My team won 56-31. We sat up high in an Oregon section and had a blast watching the Ducks score seven touchdowns. I say seven because we missed the eighth, leaving early in the fourth quarter because it was late and it was a long drive back to Phoenix.

Certainly we weren’t leaving if it was a close game, but this was blowout city from the start.

 

That was one reason to like Tucson. Reason 2: Last time I saw the Ducks in Tucson, they won then, too.

Go Ducks!

I really have to give Stephanie a lot of credit. She went with me all the way to a place she clearly does not care for, as an Arizona State fan, and she was a good sport supporting me supporting my college. She even wore an Oregon shirt.

Reason 3: Love eating at Mi Nidito Mexican Restaurant.

Reason 4: The murals of Cesar Chavez and farmworkers on the freeway overpass bridge at the 4th Ave. exit off the 10 freeway.





Lo Que Es Americano A Mi/What Is American To Me (On July 4)

4 07 2011

Happy Fourth of July to all!

Can’t have a holiday without these two songs about being American, and no, one of them is not the Lee Greenwood anthem.

Does it get any better than Hulkamania and The Godfather of Soul/Rocky IV/Apollo Creed on Independence Day for the USA?

And of course this rather obscure gem from (MC) Hammer, getting down with patriotism in the wake of 9/11. Give it about a minute to get to the music. Laugh if you want, but I’m sure it was coming from a good place in Hammer’s heart. Can’t Touch This!

More Americana to me…

-Watching the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, then eating a burrito for breakfast.

Read the rest of this entry »





Noche de Boxeo Profesional en Arizona

12 06 2011

I have always liked boxing. It takes precision, talent, skill. It is a sport of passion and interaction with fans. It is part of my Mexican heritage, as Mexicans and Mexican Americans — Latinos period — ¬†have a grand tradition in the sport.

Saturday night my wife and I went to Wildhorse Pass Casino in nearby Chandler to see a young man I wrote about earlier this month, Jose Benavidez Jr. When I interviewed him, he struck me as pretty polished and well-spoken for being only 19. He also seemed hungry (for a title) and humbled by the support of his family, friends, fans and management team.

There were five other bouts on the card, and having not been to more than a couple of fight nights, this one was pretty good. It had elements of a Vegas-style event — passionate fans, round card girls, loud (and) good music, grand entrances and most important, quality fights with some good young talent coming up in the game.

Benavidez won his fight, despite having two injured hands. Good to see so much support for a local kid from Phoenix who has a bright future.

Here are some photos video from last night at the casino…

Alexis "Beaver" Santiago (left) vs. Carlos LuQue. Beaver got a unanimous decision.

Read the rest of this entry »





Baseball, PowerDrive and exhaustion

8 03 2011

It’s a very busy and hectic life these days with all the work I’m doing in spring training, the three times a week I get up before dawn for workout and well, other stuff.

So I’ve slacked a little on my blog but that doesn’t mean I haven’t snapped a few photos. I share them here.

Sunday I covered the Giants-Mariners spring training game in Scottsdale. Saw a really bad mullet…

… a player with my last name…

…the Kung Fu Panda…

…the 2010 World Series Trophy…

…and when the day was over, live music at the St. Agnes School Mardi Gras. My nieces go to school there.

PowerDrive - Phoenix's old-school and Latin music party band. Good stuff.