Athletes remember their roots

February 16, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

In this age, when many professional athletes only care about how much they get paid and are only out for themselves, it's refreshing to come across pro athletes who want to give a little back to the community where it all started.

This week Imperial Valley children had the opportunity to meet and interact with two "local boys" — Glenn Cadrez and Rudy Seanez — who have gone on to bigger and better things in the National Football League and in Major League Baseball.

Tuesday, El Centro native and Central Union High graduate Glenn Cadrez returned to the elementary school where his dream of playing pro football began.

The Kansas City Chiefs and former Denver Broncos linebacker took time to meet and talk to students at Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland.


"I come out here all the time because I have family here, but I never spoke at this school," said Cadrez, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Broncos. "It's kind of surreal because 25 years ago I used to be one of these little kids at this school, too."

Cadrez has spoken at other Valley schools and every time he tries to send the same message.

"I always take questions from the kids, but one of the things I always talk to them about is the importance of going to school," he said. "I tell them that school was a vehicle that I used to get an education, go on to college and play football. So I usually stress that."

Talking to children at schools isn't the only thing Cadrez gives back to the community. During the 2001 football season, he bought 50 tickets for underprivileged children for a Chiefs-Chargers game.

"I'm coming down to my last few years in the league and I thought that would be something cool to do for those kids," said Cadrez. "I just felt fortunate to do something like that while I still can."

He also works with the Valley's police activities leagues helping put together different fund raisers. On Feb. 22, Cadrez and Brawley PAL will host a comedy night at Coyote Wells in El Centro and follow that with his annual celebrity golf tournament in either March or April.

Wednesday, Seanez, a Brawley native and Brawley Union High graduate, spoke to youngsters in Brawley and signed autographs at the Lions Center and the Boys and Girls Club.

"I think it's important that these kids know that I am approachable," said Seanez, who recently signed with the Texas Rangers as a reliever and also has pitched for Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cleveland. "I mean, if I'm working out somewhere or am just out, I want them to know that I'll take the time to talk to them and answer whatever questions they may have.

"In fact, I'd rather talk to them in situations like that, where it's more relaxing and you're just talking and having a conversation," he continued.

"I mean, I'm not necessarily trying to be a role model or anything like that. I believe that everything should start at home and parents should be role models," said Seanez. "It's not really up to me to raise someone else's kids, but I can give advice and can help point them in the right direction."

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