Monday, July 16, 2012

Profile - Rubi Reyna

Rubi Reyna
“Let me in the game; I can run on my left side…”

Third quarter in the last game of a disappointing season.  Rubi Reyna lands hard on her right elbow.  Team trainer Dr. Tara Morris decides this is more than just a stinger and tells Rubi she is finished for the game.  Rubi objects, tries to get back in, says she can protect the damaged right elbow.  “I can run on my left side.”

Dr. Morris prevails.  And was right.  Rubi had a hairline fracture. 

Rubi is the Outlaws most intriguing rookie.  She is quiet, unemotional, calm.  Well, she seems quiet,  unemotional,  and calm.  Put a helmet on her, send her into the game, and she becomes a totally different person.  “I go into my beast mode.”  It wouldn’t go well to be a beast off the field. 

Coach recognized Rubi's athletic talent, named her
one of the Outlaws quarterbacks.
Photo by MaryLou Spence
A clue about the real Rubi was Coach Mo selecting her as quarterback.  He had watched her running routes and then throwing the ball and he saw she was something special.  Quarterback is the key position on the team.  She is the first to touch the ball on every offensive play. 

She has to have athletic skill and an understanding of the game.  Rubi has both.
Athletic skill – she says “sports is a big part of my life.”   She participated in sports from age four.  In middle school she played softball all year, plus volleyball, basketball, and track.  In high school she played varsity softball, basketball, and volleyball.  She gave up track because it conflicted with softball.  People told her she couldn’t play because she was small  – 5’2” – but she was quick and athletic.

Her senior year year high school softball team made the regionals and ended one run short of state. She was so good at softball that she was recruited as catcher and given a full scholarship to Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kansas.  We’re talking  fast-pitch softball like what you see on ESPN in the spring.  Rubi played catcher her first year there and then shortstop.  She had a .345 batting average and hit five homers – to the chagrin of critics who “said I was too tiny.” 

Ruby fighting for more yardage, demonstrating athletic
skill as she refuses to go down easily.
Photo by MaryLou Spence
She has the athletic skill. 

And she has the intelligence for understanding the game.

She got outstanding grades at Barton Community College and exchanged her athletic scholarship for a full academic scholarship that paid all of her college expenses. 

An injury interrupted her college athletic career – her deltoids detached from the bone and had to be repaired surgically – and she returned to her home in Corpus Christi where she enrolled in Texas A&M and earned her BS in Education.  She plans to teach Science next year.

She took a year off and moved to Austin in June of 2011.  She said living in Corpus has it ups and downs.  It is great living near the coast until a hurricane is coming, then “it is like walking on broken glass.”  She came to Austin because of greater opportunities here than in Corpus.  She applied everywhere for a job and now works at Dick Sporting Goods because it is close to home and she loves sports.

Rubi grew up in Sinton, Texas, north of  Corpus Christi, with two brothers and two sisters.  And a lot of cousins.  Now her biggest boosters, her boy cousins used to allow her to play football with them on the streets.  It was touch but they played aggressively and sometimes “they’d push me into cars.”  They were all four to five years older than Rubi and they had a rule:  “If I cried I was banned and could never play again.”

Rubi demonstrating her awareness of the game,
finding an escape route as would-be tackler pursues.
Photo by MaryLou Spence
She loves football and has a good understanding of the game.  She is a big fan of certain Dallas Cowboys – but not Tony Romo because “he folds under pressure.”  She loves Jason Witten because “he is a great player but not a showboat”, rather a family man and regular guy.  She likes Demarcus Ware because of the way he can get to the quarterback.  And she likes the Saints’ Drew Brees because he excels in spite of being small and people said he couldn’t make it. 

She knows all about being small and still being good.  She says her brothers play well and we all have a passionate heart.  When somebody tells us we’re tiny and can’t do it we do it.” 

Rubi says she plays with all her heart because of  her mom.  My mom is my inspiration, hero, and someone I look up too.   She passed away four years ago but I know she is the Outlaws biggest fan.  She told me ‘if you’re going to do something make sure your put everything into it.’” 

Rubi following inspirational advice from her mom
and putting everything into carrying the ball.
Photo by MaryLou Spence
Rubi heard about the Outlaws and connected with the team via the Internet.  People told her “you’re too tiny, going to get hurt” and she replied she was going to prove them all wrong.  At 5’2” tall and 130 pounds, Rubi is small for football. This blog featured her in a recent post in a size comparison with Maile Capers-Cristobal, the largest Outlaw. 

Photographic size comparisons don’t capture the size of the heart or spirit. 
Well, maybe photographs do capture something of the internal strength.  MaryLou Spence is the Outlaws team photographer.  She provided most of the photos included with this post.  Rubi doesn’t look small in these photos, does she? 

Rubi the running back.
Photo by MaryLou Spence
Rubi was tagged as quarterback early and shared that role with Marisa “Cookie” Rivas.  When coach asked Rubi to work at running back, she accepted the challenge.  Good running backs are also good blockers.  Rubi is a good running back.   

Good running backs are good blockers.  Even when
the opponent is larger.  Rubi made the block in this play.

As the season progressed she was given the opportunity to play defense.  Often playing both offense and defense in the same game (which was fine with her, “I love being on the field").  She admits she likes defense a little better and quoted a sports truism:  offense sells tickets, defense wins ballgames.

Rubi admits to liking defense maybe a little more than offense.  Here she is driving
the runner out of bounds on a good one-on-one tackle.
Photo by MaryLou Spence

Rubi keeps in shape working out at her apartment complex gym and has a regular schedule focusing some days on legs and lower body, others on cardio and upper body. 

A real competitor, Rubi celebrates a score. 
"How many girls can say I scored a touchdown?"
Photo by MaryLou Spence
She says she is competitive and this was a difficult year.  But “the entire season we made progress.”  She predicts a better season next year.  I feel sorry for the other teams.”
I asked if she has any closing comments.  She said " I just want thank the  sponsors,  the fans, all the donors, coaches, mom outlaw, and volunteers. Without ya'll we wouldn't have the outlaws"

She says she is honored to be part of the team.  “On and off the field we’re family.  We’re here for each other.  Love that about the team.”  And she loves being a football player. 

“How many girls can say I scored a touchdown.”


Maile cc said...

Awesome.. :-).
Great blog posting..never too small to have a big heart!!!

Catherine Quintanilla said...

my niece kicks ass !!!

Eileen Hiracheta said...

My bestfriend is awesome!!!