Nomar Garciaparra

Article from May 12, 2012

When I talk about my family, I’m not just thinking about my parents and my siblings. For Christmas, we had more than 80 of my family members gathered in California. For Easter, it was easily 150 people. That’s the essence of our Mexican culture—family. And food. I love Mexican food; I love mariachi music. Growing up, it seemed we were always looking for an excuse to get together. On birthdays, everybody showed up—aunts, uncles, cousins. Then I would go across the border to Tijuana with my dad to visit with my grandfather, aunts and uncles. I think that sense of family has been instilled in all of us.

Now that I’m older, I’m really grateful that I grew up in that environment. I had nothing but support from my parents. I was aware of all the sacrifices they made for me and my three siblings. I went to a private Catholic elementary school, then a private high school. My dad worked hard to make it all possible. But he still went to every sporting event I played in. At night he was at work to make up for the time he lost watching us play.

I grew up around kids of every different culture and ethnic background you can think of. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. We would all go to each other’s homes, eat all the different foods, learn about different cultures and traditions, Asian, African-American. I didn’t know what discrimination was until I left California and went away to college at Georgia Tech.

I am eager to teach my daughters about their culture, about the importance of family. They are already seeing it when we have family gatherings. When we come together for Christmas and holidays, they see so many aunts and uncles and cousins running around. They know when they go over my parents’ house, there will always be family around. They just get that. And they get excited to see my wife Mia’s [Mia Hamm] side of the family in Texas. Our jobs allow us to travel a lot, so they get to see many different cultures. I want to instill in them an openness to all different cultures and people, just like I had.