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Monday, December 13, 2010

Micaela Rodriguez- Still Playing

Micaela Rodriguez is not your typical basketball player. Most kids in her situation, choose not to stick with sports. In 7th and 8th grade, she seldom got to play in games. As a freshmen, she had a classmate on the varsity and another classmate on the sophomore team. She got to play on the freshmen team but was not a star. 

It would have been easy for her to have quit basketball in junior high or after he freshman year. I am sure she was probably told by others not to go out. And she probably heard, “The coaches have already decided who is going to play, you are not going to play.” But she continued to play. As a sophomore she was one of her team’s leading scorers. As a junior, she was one of the varsity’s leading scorers. We are certainly glad she continued to play basketball.

When did you first start playing basketball? Describe your first experiences in basketball?
I first started playing basketball in 3rd Grade.  My Aunt was coaching the 4th Grade Carver Center Team and asked if I would like to play with them.  I've always been smaller in size, even back then.  So when I started playing against much bigger girls, I wasn't sure this was going to be a good sport for me.  My grandma who is now my #1 fan worried about me getting knocked down all the time back then and said I was probably going to end up being a cheerleader instead.  Now we look back and are able to joke about that.  Another memory I have is playing under Coach Del Pacheco and he made me play a point guard which I did not want to do.  Eventually I was able to talk him into making me a 2, which is still my favorite position.

Was there a person/persons that got you interested in playing basketball?
My Aunt started me out playing on her team and I received encouragement from many people in the Carver Center program including Coach Del, Brad and Nancy Turner, and Steve Watts. My family always cheered for me and still do . Attending Coach Massey's Summer Camp around 5th Grade gave me the opportunity to practice skills and interact with the older girls who were always helpful . Attending the GHS Girls Basketball games really inspired me want to be a future Silver Streak and be a part of the tradition. There have been alot of great players and role models on the GHS teams over the years that I have looked up to.

In junior high and freshmen level, you did not get to play alot, correct? It seems like it would have been easy for you to get discouraged, what kept you going?
In junior high, that is correct, I did not get to play a lot.  I really enjoyed the game and was willing to contribute to the team as needed.  It was discouraging at times but my Mom would not let me get down about it. She always told me to work hard and you will achieve your goals. She said even if you play 30 seconds, you should be working your hardest those 30 seconds and eventually hard work gets noticed. 

Have you always been a good shooter? What do you attribute your shooting success to?
I am not sure, but I do remember my first three that I made was in 6th Grade.  I attribute it to practice and also that other than what I learned at camp, no one tried to interfere or change how I shot, so it just seems natural and comfortable to shoot.

In summer after league, your dad always seemed to want to get out and shoot. Analyze his shot, can he beat you in horse?
Well my Dad definitely did not teach me how to shoot ( haha).  I would say his shots are lucky, he hasnt beaten me yet in horse.

You are a very good student. How do you balance the time commitment of basketball with working to get good grades? What is a typical day after school with basketball and studies like?
I take advantage of my advocacy period to work ahead and any free time at school I might have.  If I have practice or a game later, I will try to get school work out of the way and done, I have always believed I am a STUDENT before an athlete and will do what it takes including late nights after games if needed to get it done. My typical day between basketball and school runs from 6:20 am until 9 pm or sometimes later.
What are your plans for after high school? What schools are you looking at? What do you want to study? What career interests do you have?
My plans after High School are to attend a 4-year college, possibly play ball, and major in Accounting. The schools I am most interested in and have been accepted to are Augustana College and Knox College.

What has been your favorite class in high school?
My favorite class in High School has been Accounting with Mrs. Achelpohl.  She really inspired me to want to have a career in Accounting. Even though currently she is not my teacher she continues to be supportive and offer help with my future in accounting. ( Of course you know I would of said Psychology with Mr. Massey, but I have not had that class yet.)

You seem to be very proud of your ethnic heritage. What are special customs (Christmas, birthdays, or just ordinary meals) that you especially enjoy and that you plan to make sure you pass onto the next generation in your family?
Yes I am! Spanish is my first language and my family and I speak Spanish at home and I hope to teach Spanish to my children. I grew up listening and dancing to Mexican music and still do, and want to pass this tradition down also. And of course I enjoy all the GREAT food! I was fortunate enough to be able to have a Quinceneara (a traditional sweet 15 celebration) which celebrates a young girl becoming a young woman both socially and religiously.  I would say the most important part of my heritage I want to pass on is the importance of family and being very family oriented.     

If you could invite any three people (living or dead) to have dinner with, who would it be and why?
George Lopez..because there would not be a dull moment, he would keep me laughing. Cesar Chavez..I would like to hear from him the history of the struggle for migrant workers rights and ask his opinion on the current events involving immigration. Manu Gnobli..he's my all time favorite basketball player and I would love to hear about his NBA experiences and  pick up some pointers.

The System, what do you think of us choosing to use this style of play?
I was excited when I heard about us using the system. It is truly a team effort and I knew we had the right people to make it successful. I also felt that I could help contribute in this style of play regardless of my size. It has taken some adapting and work but I think it has really come together, especially this season.       

Of all the things we have done in the summer with basketball, what is one of your favorite memories?
My favorite memory of the summer was playing and spending time with the team at the Maine West tournament.  We played well against good sized teams and it just felt like the system was really working well for us.  Also, getting to go to down town Chicago and shopping and eating and seeing the sites.  Of course Jamie Johnson as always provided us with some good laughs.

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