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Hispanic Heritage Month Feature: Sandoval Reflects On Hispanic-American Upbringing

Hispanic Heritage Month Feature: Sandoval Reflects On Hispanic-American Upbringing

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Oct. 15, 2016) – In the United States of America, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from Sept. 15 until Oct. 15. It is a time when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to our country and celebrate the groups' heritages and cultures.
 
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Athletics Department currently boasts over 15 Hispanic-American student-athletes – as well as two staff members – on over half of its teams. One of those student-athletes is junior Anthony Sandoval (Palmdale, Calif.) of the football team.
 
Sandoval has been a pivotal part of the Mariners' defense for three years and his efforts this season have helped lead the squad to its current 4-2 record (3-1 Liberty), which ranks Merchant Marine tied for second place out of the eight teams in the Liberty League. He has played in all six games thus far in 2016 and has 20 total tackles, a half sack for a loss of three yards and three pass break-ups, including an interception in a win on the road over WPI back on Oct. 8.
 
On Saturday, Sandoval shared with USMMASports.com his reflection of growing up in a Hispanic-American household.
 
See below for his story.
 
Anthony Sandoval
10/15/2016
 
Hispanic culture showed me the importance of family. It took me years before I realized, but not everybody thinks of family the same as Hispanics do.
 
Growing up, we didn't have much, but somehow my parents were always able to manage. There was never a day that my sister and I weren't able to eat, even if it meant my parents couldn't. They worked harder than anyone I have ever known and were somehow able to get us anything we could ever ask for. That is something I will always appreciate.
 
Even through work and their own personal lives, they never missed one of mine or my sister's sporting events. They were there for us no matter what, and I began to understand that as I got into high school. I went to high school two hours away from where we lived, but every morning at 5 a.m. my dad got up and drove me to school, and every evening after football practice, at 8 p.m., he drove me back home. That kind of dedication showed me that when it comes to family – you do anything to make sure they are in the best situation that they can be in.
 
Because of the sacrifices that my dad made for me to attend a good school and play for a good football program, I will always look up to him and aspire to have the selflessness and hardworking mentality that he has.
 
My favorite tradition that my family has comes on Christmas Eve, when we invite our extended family and everyone brings different foods. We all sit around the table and eat a big dinner that was prepared by the entire family. Then after dinner we all get together in the living room and pass out the gifts that we got for each other. It is always nice to see the whole family and be able to spend quality time with them at the same time.
 
I don't think there is a family in the world that is closer than mine. I think of my family more as my best friends than as my relatives. We can all talk to each other about anything, make jokes to (or about) each other, ask each other for advice, and spend time with each other and it never feels as though its forced. I am blessed to have been born into such a great family, and I wouldn't trade my relationship with them for the world.
 
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