For ‘The All-American Cuban Comet,’ patriotism and protest are one and the same, just like 50 years ago

The All-American Cuban Comet, a documentary about the life and career of Carlos Alvarez in the Hall of Fame with the Florida Alligators, will be presented at the SEC Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.. IT. Mr. Alvarez spoke to ESPN about the history, activities and state of the athletes’ skills before his debut.

We’re never coming back. So, uh… Become an American.

A year and a half after Fidel Castro’s revolution, years after my father had studied law with Fidel Castro, we took the ferry to Key West by car rather than car.

Our life in Cuba was idyllic, but Dad knew Castro could be dangerous. So we got visas from the U.S. Embassy (we were chased while queuing) and we walked away. Once on American soil, my parents lost almost everything. As far as the children are concerned, we didn’t know before the landing that we were really going to move. To Daddy’s orders: Become an American.

I didn’t feel American. Ignorance of the language was a major barrier, and my parents barely spoke it. I even saw signs that said no blacks, no Cubans, no dogs. But Dad was so determined to be so American that he took us to North Miami where no one spoke Spanish. For four or five years, I felt like a stranger.

It would actually have started at 4:30 in the morning when my brother Arturo and I delivered the Miami newsletter. I must have been 11 years old when I handed a note to a woman known for not paying, asking her to pay on behalf of my brother.

She looked at me and said: You’re stupid from …… Get the hell out of here.

Fault! The file name is not specified. The 70 yard touchdown in his first game and the winner of the 1969 Alligator Bowl are some of the many highlights of Alvarez’ 172 shots. University of Florida

I was devastated, shocked. Arturo had character. I knew it would be bad for all of them if I told her, so I lied, said she wasn’t there and paid her out of my own money.

We’ve never forgotten their hatred. Whether it’s his xenophobia or the bad advice of a nun at St. John’s, I’m not sure it’s the same thing. St. John’s. James Elementary, who suggested that I changed my name from Carlos to Charles and became an American, seemed to be an overwhelming goal that forced us to give up our own identity.

Until I find the football.

In high school I was a jogger, but in college I wanted to be a great receiver. I liked what quarterback Steve Spurriere did in his 1966 Heisman campaign after running more than 2,000 meters. And receivers like Charlie Casey and Richard Trapp had great careers in the mid-’60s. My brothers went to Gainesville, far enough away from Miami, but not too far for my parents to watch the games. And Lindy Infante, the assistant who recruited me was Italian, but he looked Cuban. When he came to our house, Mommy loved him. (Later Lindy made a joke that he had forged a Cuban accent for the curry).

The rest is history, right? In my first race, I intercepted a 70-yard pass to help the Alligators piss off the well-guarded Houston team. I was soon called a Cuban comet before I literally became a pan-American consensus. And after scoring a winning touchdown in a 1969 Gator Bowl game, I became an American citizen. I was in a world that was both Cuban and American.

Fault! The file name is not specified. Half a century later, Alvarez is still a legend in the swamp, with the most fields in the history of football in Florida. Polite Carlos Alvarez

So I got my dad’s wish, didn’t I? There’s nothing more American than that.

Well, there is one thing. There is nothing more American than to protest and use your freedom of speech to defend what you believe in.

That’s exactly what I did. When I saw my friends come back from Vietnam traumatized, completely changed inside and out, it changed me too. It was a real learning experience. I had a platform, so I used it.

I protested against Vietnam at a time when athletes really had to keep their mouths shut and kick the ball, when Mohammed Ali and others like the Olympians, Tommy Smith and John Carlos showed the first steps to integrate athletes into the political system. I have letters telling me to go back to Cuba, lots of letters. But I have always believed that upholding your beliefs is an integral part of American citizenship. It’s a muscle. If you don’t train, you’ll lose him.

Like many others, I represent the American dream. We love America, promote and protect it. Defending America doesn’t mean not defending the rest of the world. America is leading by example, despite recent setbacks.

Fault! The file name is not specified. For Alvarez, the protests of the second left Darien Rencher and the Clemson football team are a demonstration of civic spirit. Joshua S. Kelly/U.S. Sports Today

This year I’ve seen so many athletes make beautiful non-violent protests. Lebron James. Colin Keipernick risked everything. Trevor Lawrence and his teammates showed pardon and maturity when they talked about police brutality and the issue of black people’s lives. He’s an absolutely fantastic quarterback for the best team in the country that might have something to lose. He’s ready to expose himself, and I’m happy. And I am very happy that many coaches have come forward to work with the players. They sent the message that it is absolutely appropriate; it is not only appropriate, it is a demonstration of good citizenship to protest in America.

So many sports students use their voices to make a difference. Trevor is the biggest name in school football, but no one has to be afraid of him. Athletes continue to lead by example, they are great role models who show us all how to be the best Americans to improve this alliance and society.

As citizens, Americans have a duty to listen to those who run for office, to make decisions, and to vote. When the Allies invaded Normandy in 1944, the American soldiers who landed there knew the gate would close, they ran to that beach and half of them died. You knew that.

They did it to give us a chance to vote and, my God, you have to think about it every day. You don’t have to land on this beach, but you can certainly honor them with your voice.

I believe so much in America. That’s right. And it’s a terrible time, but the core of America is good and it has so much potential. There’s some good in that, and it’ll get us started.

Trust me on this: Americans.

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