Kidding Around - Aidan EsquivelNov 26, 2015 08:09AM ● By Kevin
Sports has long been a uniting endeavor for people and cultures everywhere. This past summer 10-year-old Aidan Esquivel got to experience the camaraderie and competition of international athletics when he was chosen to be a “sports ambassador” on a Team USA baseball squad that traveled to Italy to compete.
The baseball team that Esquivel played for was the only U.S. team invited to the 2015 Tricolore International Youth Sports Games in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The annual games offer a unique cultural opportunity for kids to participate in a friendly, international sports competition with more than 3,000 youth representing 32 countries. The US team won all of their games and collected the gold medal.
Esquivel, who attends ASA Low Intermediate School in Mansfield, says he had a fantastic and wide-eyed overseas journey and that he relished carrying the U.S. team banner during opening ceremonies. Now back home, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing with his Yorkie named Gemini and, of course, playing baseball.
We asked him to tell us all about himself and his adventure.
How long have you been interested in playing baseball? As long as I can remember. I started in the back yard and played T-Ball at 4 years old.
What position(s) do you play? 1st base, 3rd base, short stop, catcher and pitcher.
What kind of bat do you prefer? Easton Mako.
Do you play other sports? Basketball, tennis, golf – I really like all sports.
What leagues have you played in? Baseball: Select baseball (USSSA, ASE, Triple Crown); Basketball: MYBA and All-Star Team (3rd and 4th grade).
Tell us about your plans for your baseball career. I would like to continue to play on select teams to improve so I can play baseball in high school and college. I am going to do my best to get a scholarship and play in college, then hopefully play in the big leagues.
How much practice/training does baseball require? It takes a lot of scheduled practices as well as running and training on my own. Team practice is twice a week; hitting and pitching lessons 1 to 2 days a week, summer camps. I play spring and fall select baseball. I play tournaments every weekend during the seasons. We practice an hour before each of the games. It is a commitment and takes dedication.
What was the greatest game or play you were ever involved in and tell us what happened? When I did the splits at 1st base to make the out at 1st and then throwing the runner out at home plate making a double play.
Who are some of your baseball heroes? Adrian Beltre, Mike Trout, Big Papi and Robinson Chirinos. I learn a lot from watching them play the game.
How did you get selected for the 5th Tricolore International Youth Sports Games? I was recommended by my Dallas Patriots coaches based on my baseball skills, sportsmanship and leadership. My grades also played a big factor as we had to miss the first week of school.
How did you find out you had been selected for Team USA? Coach Jarrod Vaught, from the Dallas Patriots, informed my dad and grandpa after baseball practice last spring that I had been recommended to represent Team USA U12.
Tell us about the trip to Italy and what was the outcome? The trip to Italy was awesome! It was definitely exhausting, but so exciting. The plane ride was long and we had to change planes in Miami and go through customs. It was a real wake up call to actually be responsible to carry my own luggage and keep track of all my belongings. I had US money and also Euros in my wallet for the trip and I had to spend wisely for the week trip. All the athletes were on the same long flight to Milan, we all wore Team USA jackets and hats. The excitement really hit me when the pilot congratulated Team USA over the loud speaker and everyone clapped. We arrived in Italy safely and had to adjust to the 7 hour time change, my first experience with jet lag. The Olympic Village was in a separate part of Reggio Emilia. We slept on air mattresses, had no air conditioning, and no TV. I was shocked when I saw the bathroom commode was actually a hole in the floor, quite a change from my normal lifestyle in Mansfield. There were about 5,000 athletes from 37 different countries. We ate our meals at the Olympic Village with our team and coaches. We kept a very busy schedule from the time we arrived. The opening and closing ceremonies were fantastic. All of the teams paraded into the city square as people cheered and clapped when the countries were announced. Cameras blinded my eyes. I was thrilled to carry the team banner in the opening ceremonies for Team USA. Team USA wore cowboy hats and were a real hit with the other athletes. I was so proud to be representing the USA. We took a team bus to the baseball field every day and played several games. We won all of our games. The baseball rules were different than we’re used to and the baseball was smaller, but we adjusted. Our team played very well and we won the gold for U10. We came home with many wonderful memories of a week filled with excitement, new friendships and a new appreciation for the USA.
What was the most interesting thing about your trip to Italy? Staying in the village with my teammates and coaches with no parents and meeting kids from all over the world and learning how to communicate with them.
What’s next for your baseball career? Playing fall baseball for the Texas Tornadoes, practicing hard and continuing to improve my skills.
Describe how your family has supported your interest? My parents are very supportive. They support me in all of my athletics and with school too. They encourage me to be involved as much as possible, but school comes first. They guide me, but allow me to decide what sport or team I am going to play with and always remind me to do my best no matter what I am doing.
What kind of student are you? Favorite subject? I am a straight A student. I like school a lot. Don’t have a particular favorite subject but if I had to choose, I like math and science, art and music.
Other interests/hobbies? I like to draw. I also like to hula hoop, jump rope and play dodge ball. I also like to swim.
What do you do in your spare time? I like to read and sing and play with my friends. Also spend time with my family.
How would you describe your personality? I am outgoing and talkative. People say I am kind and caring with a huge heart. I have been described as a Big Teddy Bear!
What are your college/career plans? I would like to go to college and play baseball, but no specific school yet. Looking forward to checking out my options.
What do you like the most about going to school in Mansfield? I love my teachers. I am so grateful to all of them. They always make me feel comfortable and to be confident in myself. Also, I am so lucky to go to such nice schools.
What kind of career do you want to go into after school/college? My dream would be to play major league baseball. I would also like to be a teacher or a coach.
Who has inspired you and why? My dad and my Grandpa Foley have always inspired me and I look up to both of them. They have both encouraged me to play baseball and they have believed in me. They both go above and beyond to support me spending countless hours taking me to practices and tournaments on weekends and rearranging their schedules.
Ice cream or apple pie? Ice cream.
Food indulgence? Pizza, shrimp, ribs and Caesar salad. I like Mexican, Italian and Chinese.
What are you most proud of? I am proud of several things: Being anchor man at JL Boren last year; getting a class leadership award last year; being selected for Team USA and carrying the banner at the opening ceremonies of Tricolore International Youth Sports Games; receiving the Tara Sawyer Classic 2015 Barnabas Award “Son of Encouragement”; and winning the under 10 Homerun Derby at the Flower Mound World Series.
Aidan Esquivel of Mansfield was very fortunate to be a member of Team USA U12 baseball team and to represent the U.S. in the recent Giochi Tricolore Sports Games in Reggio, Italy at the e... Read More »