After our Fundraiser this past Saturday I got thinking about my favorite teachers…one of which became a tremendous influence on my life's path.
I remember being nervous going into my first day of high-school, new building, new peers, new teachers, who knew what to expect? Little did I know when I stepped into my Earth Science class for the first time my life would never be the same.
Mr. Ortega seemed old, but everyone seems old at that time in your life. Looking back, he was probably under 40! It was the first day for us so things were pretty relaxed, get to know a little about Earth Science and then time to socialize with your peers. It was while I was socializing my Earth Science teach approached me.
"How much do you weigh?" Mr Ortega asked.
A little surprised by this question I answered, "I don't know maybe 100 pounds."
He responded, "Think you can get down to 91 pounds?"
Me, "Lose weight? I don't know…why?"
With a smirk on his face, "because you're going to be a wrestler!"
"I'm gonna have to ask my mom."
The rest his history. I did become a wrestler and Mr. Ortega went from my older, boring Earth Science teacher to someone that gave me daily ass whoopings on the wrestling mats, that listened to the problems of 40 adolescent boys, and challenged us all to become better people.
Looking back over 20 years ago (I'm getting old) I wonder where my life would be had Mr. Ortega not saw something in me. It may have been the fact that I was the only boy in the school under 100lbs., but I like to think he saw more than that and I believe he did.
Thank you Coach Ortega.