A story I always told my students in class was an incident that occurred at Hilltop High School after a basketball game my senior year (1978). Coronado won the game by 6 points. There was no controversy. I believe we shook hands and I went to the bus to go home.
A Coronado mom asked for a ride because her car had broken down. We were two blocks away when a group of boys threw rocks at our bus. All of the rocks broke windows or bounced off the bus except one. It came through the window and the glass went into the mom’s eyes and the rock hit me on the side of the face. Blood was everywhere. I had a tooth in my hand and other teeth destroyed. My jaw had been fractured and I was going to need oral surgery. I’ll never forget the look from my mother when she saw me for the first time.
A group of knuckleheads decided to throw rocks at our bus. I’m sure they married some day had a family and may live in the same community. Why did they throw the rocks? Was it because we were Coronado?
I guess I am becoming more sensitive and concerned about how divisive the words racism and other “isms” are being thrown around are becoming. They are not bringing us together, but pushing us apart. Coronado just experienced a group on the bridge that wanted to come over and do what? The incident that occurred in our gym has been labeled racism, classism, and colorism. We have had a protest occur in our streets.
I’ve already talked to both investigators from both schools to tell my story. I’ve learned even more from audio, video, and from other individuals /fans behind the Coronado bench. In my heart this was not racism, colorism, and classism.
We had two basketball coaches with good teams that didn’t care for each other. We had fans who were taunting each other and players. We had a 40 year old Coronado graduate that thought it would be fun to recreate something that was done at his college if there was a victory. Until the media I didn’t know Orange Glen (OG) was 85+% Hispanic. Was I supposed to know that? I didn’t see race when I looked over at Orange Glen. I looked at a team that had to beat some good teams to be here. They must be good.
I did notice that the OG head coach did not shake our starters’ hands. I did notice the fans from Orange Glen were in a section that usually had our students and cheerleaders in front of it. I did notice two young men behind the OG bench taunting. If these two young men do not head to the Coronado bench, and the coaches from both teams didn’t have words with each other tortillas would not of been a factor. This was all about unsportsmanlike conduct. This was about character.
We now have people with power without knowing all the facts, dispersing consequences and “restorative discipline.” I would be shocked if any of these tortillas were thrown due to race. I believe it was due to the words and aggression from the adults in the gym. I’m thankful that no one was physically hurt. Mentally this has been a struggle for many.
I appreciate people who give service to our community. I believe the statement of racism, classism, and colorism was premature and labeling this incident as such adds to the perception that this is the way Coronado is. Coronado is a wonderful place to grow up, raise a family, work, and visit!