Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Taking Heat in San Antonio

Sebastien De La Cruz
I am far from being politically correct.  In fact, I am more conservative than a lot of my friends and especially among people of my own ethnicity.  But there are some things that just rub me the wrong way and it should do the same to others.

Since my favorite professional basketball team is in "The Finals," as it is now known, synonymous with the Super Bowl and the World Series, I was naturally excited to see my team, the San Antonio Spurs, make it back home to face the Miami Heat in the third game of this series.  Living in Fresno, California, in the shadow of San Francisco Giants baseball and 49er football, I love to see the games broadcast from San Antonio because I consider San Antonio my second home.  I lived there for a few years as a boy and as a young adult, and have many fond memories of the Alamo City, along with its people and culture.

This evening, due to a last-minute scheduling issue with the original singer, a local boy was asked to fill in at the last minute to sing the National Anthem.  Sebastien de la Cruz is a 11-year-old who has already received national attention through his talent on a network television singing competition, and when asked to do this for the Spurs organization, he was more than happy to do so.

His talent:  He is a 11-year-old mariachi singer.

At the beginning of the game, there he was, in his mariachi outfit ready to belt it out, and he did very well, although he had a couple of rough patches patches where he changed key.  Coming from a music background, I tend to catch small details like that, but in fairness to him, it is very difficult to sing in an sports arena a capella, and I'm more than confident that he nails it when performing with the guitars, violins, and trumpets serenading behind him.   But a job well done, nevertheless.  I'll take him over the girl in Miami any day.

But Simon, Paula, and Randy could never be as tough on him as those who were critical in the cyberworld due to one issue:  His ethnicity - and his mariachi suit.

I'll save you the details, but the racial overtones directed at this young boy were beyond ludicrous.  The Twitter world was buzzing with so many racial slurs directed at this young boy.  This professional singer, however, takes it all in stride and his only concern is how exciting it was to be able to sing at Game 3.

What the heck is wrong with people?

Given it's current political climate, San Antonio would appear to be a politically correct city, so as to shove the Mexican culture down people's throats, as if to say, "Hey, look at us!  We're Mexicans and we live here too!"  The fact is that San Antonio's Mexican culture has always been synonymous with San Antonio and what it stands for.  It thrived in spite of a liberal or conservative climate.  San Antonio's people, like those in Texas, still have a sense of unity that has been in existence for almost 200 years, made famous at the Battle of The Alamo in its fight for Texas independence.  Many people fail to realize that the men who fought and died at the Alamo were not all rich white men with a lot to lose, but also Mexican and black men who chose to fight alongside them.  Many of the surrounding towns are named for Mexican patriots of Texas who have fought for Texas independence.  

Need more proof?  Try this for size.  The names of the four missions that were established there before the existence of any city are named:

Mission Concepcion (established as Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña in 1716).
Mission Espada (established as Misión San Francisco de la Espada in 1690).
Mission San Jose (established as Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo in 1720).
Mission San Juan Capistrano (established originally as Misión San Jose de los Nazonis in 1716).

That's pretty Mexican if you ask me.

I loved living in San Antonio for not only the culture, but also the celebration of what San Antonio was all about.  Mexican restaurants, the River Walk, Fiesta Week, La Villita, the Hemisfair, along with mariachi, flamenco, and folklorio music were what gave me wonderful memories of what San Antonio was and is all about.  Country-Western muslc and Tex-Mex music was what I enjoyed as a young adult, and stopping at a barbacoa stand on the west side or a fish fry restaurant on the east side were all experiences that I can never forget. I can still taste barbecued brisket while drinking a Big Red soda as a kid (or Lone Star beer as an adult). Of course, going to an actual Spurs game at the old Hemisfair Arena as a 13-year-old was something I never forgot, and to this day I continue to cheer on my Spurs.

So, to those complaining about the little mariachi kid singing at an American basketball game:  Unless you live in San Antonio, stick it up your twitter hole.  You don't know a darn thing.

By the way, I failed to mention one thing...Darius Rucker, an African-American who sings country music, was supposed to originally sing the National Anthem.  What then?

Either way, San Antonio wins!  Nobody messes with Texas!  Go Spurs!

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