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Globetrotter chases dream

Martin Chang

Five-year Harlem Globetrotter Blenda Rodriguez shows off his tricks on Feb. 10 at the Valley Oaks Charter School.

Martin Chang, Opinions Editor

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When Blenda Rodriguez was cut from his high school basketball team, he didn’t let that kill his dream. After taking few years as a break, he said to himself, “I have a love of basketball. I’m just going to keep working hard.”

He started out playing college and NBA halftime shows. Then he was featured on DVDs. According to Rodriguez, He was “reinventing himself.” One day the Harlem Globetrotters called for an audition, and in 2007 he became one of five people that year to become a Harlem Globetrotter.

The Globetrotters will be performing in Bakersfield at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Rabobank Arena.

Now, as a five-year Harlem Globetrotter, he tells kids across the country about how their dreams can come true.

On Feb. 10, he visited both Valley Oaks Charter School and Bakersfield Memorial Hospital to spread his positive message of dreams coming true to the children of Bakersfield.

Rodriguez describes such events as “90 percent of what we put our hearts into. The rest is what you see on the court.”

He describes the overall goal of these events as “to make people happy.

“To show them that I did not become a Harlem Globetrotter overnight, and it took a lot of hard work.

“To show that if you make sacrifices, that you’re going to become great people and have a great future.”

Rodriguez believes that he teaches children how to “believe in their dreams.” He said, “they learn how to cooperate. They learn to have effort, enthusiasm and responsibility.”

At Valley Oaks, Rodriguez would pick volunteer children in the audience to show them how to perform the trademark Harlem Globetrotter tricks and play basketball games with them.

He said of interacting with the children one on one, “It feels great to interact with the kids because I remember that when I was a little kid in school. They would bring musicians and magicians, and we would be so amazed and thrilled and happy and excited. So just to bring a professional basketball player to their school, it definitely touches their hearts. They feel happy. They see the tricks and are amazed, something they’ve never seen before. It’s something that they will probably never forget and last them a lifetime.”

Jennifer Massie, a parent who brought her three kids to the Valley Oaks event, said of the event, “I think it can be really encouraging for the kids and help with their character building, and maybe help them get a interest in basketball. I found it very interesting and fun, [I heard] kids laughing.”

Her child, Joseph Massie, was one of the children picked to be taught tricks.

He said he had fun and liked learning tricks.

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