From Peoria High School to the big leagues
Latinas can do anything anyone else can do, and maybe even better. After hearing so many stories of triumph and overcoming tremendous obstacles, I wholeheartedly believe it.
Patricia Ramos feels the same way. She has reached the top in a field that Latinas traditionally don’t excel in – basketball.
Hard work, determination and heart helped her play as a point guard while attending Peoria High School, Pima Community College and Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa. This past summer, she went to New Orleans to compete in the Women’s Final Four Combine. She competed against college seniors from all over the country. Not only did Patricia make it through all of the games, she was selected to play in a women’s professional league.
Patricia is not the average basketball player. She is a only five feet, three inches tall; she acquired her talent through practice and endurance.
“People say your height will keep you back, but it’s not about your height; it’s about your heart and how big it is and how much you believe in yourself,” Ramos said.
She is the only Latina on her team. Few Latinas play in the women’s national and international basketball leagues, and even fewer Mexican Americans.
“Basketball has given me many opportunities. It paid for my education and I have met so many people through volunteer activities. I even had the opportunity to work with the Special Olympics and I learned to play wheelchair basketball,” Ramos said. “Basketball has taught me respect and discipline and I was able to travel extensively.”
Patricia’s parents have been the main force behind her success. Her father, John, coaches high school basketball and taught her to play when she was just six years old.
“She has a lot of dedication, she never let her height hold her back,” said Sonya Ramos, Patricia’s mother. “She always does double the work and always gives more than 100 percent.”
Letting their little girl move away from home to go to college was tough; letting her follow her dream and play in another country was also hard, but they put their fears aside and supported her.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for her, so we gave her our blessing and we’re praying for her safety,” said Sonya. “We don’t cry in front of her,” said John. “We usually wait until we get home.”
“We just keep telling her ‘You’re a warrior,’ ” says John. “She’s so driven; it actually motivates her more when they tell her that she can’t do it.”
Patricia had to endure coaches telling her she could never go pro because of her height, but twice she was runner-up for Player of the Year.
Patricia remembers her pet Chihuahua that terrorized their bigger dog. “My parents always said, ‘It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the bite!,’ and I believe it!”
Patricia hopes to get picked up by an international team while playing in Europe and maybe one day play for the WNBA. Whether she does or not, she has already made herself and her family proud.
An Arizona native, Diana Bejarano, is a blogger, columnist, motivational speaker, marketing professional and a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reach her on her website at latinastillstanding1.com or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.