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|Ringing in Christmas: George Lopez Helps Tigers Celebrate Baseball Season In Fine Style|
|Written by Mike Terry|
|Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00|
Actor-Comedian Presents 2013 City Championship Rings To Players At Campus Assembly
D. Martinez / SFVSz
Tiger Ringers – San Fernando players flash their latest jewelry, championship rings for winning the City Section Division I baseball title in June.
The number one fan of the San Fernando High baseball team came by the campus this week to keep his word on rewarding the Tigers for winning the Los Angeles City Section Division I title back in June.
Actor and comedian George Lopez, a San Fernando High alum, stood happily on the school auditorium stage handing out championship rings to the players during a school assembly as fellow students and family members cheered vociferously.
Also attending was Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes, a San Fernando High graduate as well.
The ceremony put the final exclamation point on the Tigers tremendous season, one in which the team won a school record 33 games and earned its second Division I championship in the last three years with a 2-1 win against Cleveland at Dodger Stadium.
Along with the jewelry, Lopez – who graduated from here in 1979 – dispensed a little wisdom.
“When I went to school here in 1861,” he said, drawing a large laugh from the audience, “I already knew I wanted to be a comedian. A teacher told me I was wasting my time.
“Don’t let anyone tell you you’re wasting your time. It’s your time.”
Besides the players, Coach Armando Gomez, his coaching staff, and team public address announcer and former teacher Dan Ballard each received ring.
It was the second time that Lopez has paid for the rings. Tigers Coach Armando Gomez recalled how he received a call from the entertainer when the team won in 2011, its first City baseball championship in 20 years.
“I thought somebody was messing with me,” said Gomez, until realizing that it was Lopez on the phone.
Lopez asked how they were planning to celebrate. Gomez said there was little planned, that the team was fundraising to buy championship rings. Lopez bought the rings in 2011, and did it again for the 2013 team.
“He wanted to give back to the baseball program. He’s our number one fan…it means a lot to us to see someone so famous who walked the campus come and give back,” Gomez said.”
D. Martinez / SFVSz
After handing out the rings, Lopez was given his own by Gomez, and a framed photograph of the team’s triumph at Dodger Stadium; he was unable to attend the game in person that day. He also received a 2013 championship banner signed by all the players.
Lopez then took pictures with and signed autographs for everyone – players, students, and family members – who were allowed to meet and greet him backstage.
“I hadn’t been in that auditorium in forever,” Lopez said. “It’s where, as a senior, you do a collage of memories of the year when you’re graduating. And you know that’s the end of school, and you’re not going to see a lot of the same people anymore.
“These are times that kids need to value. And if you can go back, and you’re from an area like this and succeed, you have an obligation to go back and help – however it is. It just so happens I love this area. I love the elementary school, the high school and I love baseball, the game my grandfather and I had in common. We used to bond over it."
He said he was a member of the baseball team, but wasn’t on any championship squads. Instead, the ring that was most important to him then was his high school class ring.
“I literally had to beg my grandmother for money to buy my high school graduation ring, when no one in my family had graduated. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the money; it just didn’t mean anything to her,” he said.
“I’m honored to give these kids something to always have and to look back at a time, when this is the best time.”
Gomez was appreciative of Lopez’s generosity.
“This is awesome. George has been so instrumental in trying to help us out, and do everything [he can] for the baseball program; we appreciate everything he does. And now Felipe wants to try and help the football team…it’s all good,” the coach said.
"We want to keep this thing rolling. And I think we have a good shot at winning again next year (with seven returning starters).”
|Last Updated on Monday, 23 December 2013 00:47|