Renegade Struggles: Anthony Rodriguez


Chris Cocay

Anthony Rodriguez smiles as he listens to “Blood and Beer,” by Tritone Mafia.

Chris Cocay, Reporter

Being disabled was never a burden for Anthony Rodriguez, 29, a sophomore student at Bakersfield College who is majoring in Kinesiology. He loves to play music, in fact, he is a drummer in two bands which are the Tritone Mafia and Stanley Jay Tucker. Being visually impaired does not stop Rodriguez from playing; his condition challenges him more to do what he loves.

“I was born premature, the oxygen in my brain killed my retina, that’s how I got blind.”

When asked if he feels different when comparing himself to other people, his response was, “I just grew up like a normal kid, I learned how to live with my condition and be normal and not worry about people’s opinion.”

Rodriguez also mentioned his family background. He used to live with his grandmother when she was alive; his grandmother was his biggest supporter. Rodriguez currently lives with his cousin, which he moved in with when his grandmother passed away.

When asked about what gives him hope, he said, “A lot of things, God, Music, Friends, and Family. It’s quite beautiful how proud they are. Remembering the memories with them, it feels like I’m at the top of the world.”

But there are also sad moments in Anthony’s life, he hasn’t been in good terms with his mother since he was very little. There was not much affection when it came to the two and his father abandoned him when he was a baby.

“My Mother never asked how was my day, my grandma was always the caring one,” he said.

When it comes to struggles, he is just like any normal college student; he has had some good and bad times when it comes to academics.

“When it comes to school, my struggles are assignments, quizzes, and projects. Sometimes, you just need to have a little bit more time. You cannot just finish everything with a limited time, and sometimes my teachers, they didn’t understand about my condition. But I don’t worry about them that much, because I believe that with God, there are no struggles, but [as] for my condition I will say familiarizing a new place, it will definitely take some time to memorize everything, and sometimes other people, they just don’t know how to react with a blind person.”

Rodriguez mentioned that he doesn’t have problems when it comes to communicating with people, his condition never stopped him from making friends. In fact, he has plenty.

“I never had a problem with making friends. I talk to a lot of people. I have a lot of friends in this campus,” he said.

Rodriguez seemed to become excited when he talked about music. He was only 4 years old when he became interested in playing drums.

“I started with spoons, and cups. I was in sixth grade when I had my first performance,” he said very proudly.

His band “Tritone Mafia” has three members. The band plays Metallica based music with Pantera’s influence. While his other band “Stanley Jay Tucker,” that was formed in 2014, plays blues rock, classic rock, and country.