It’s not just another nickname

I was born in Staten Island, New York and moved to New Jersey when I was 8.

I consider myself to be a Jersey kid, though. And I guess you can say I am a man of many nicknames like J-rock, Yeet, Feliep, J and many more.

But my most common nickname by far is Beanie or Beans, whichever variation you want to say. I received this life-long nickname in my sophomore year in high school, one hot summer day during football practice.

Our head coach was also my positional coach. We were doing a drill on back peddling and breaking on a ball. I heard my freshman coach yell “there we go Juan Valdez.” I looked and just laughed afterward because he gave me that nickname because I wore number one my freshman year. He would say, “Let’s go number Juan Valdez.”

My head coach heard it and looked at me and said “have you ever heard of the coffee bean company Called Juan Valdez?” Of course, I responded with “no I do not drink coffee coach.”

He said, “Well beanie is going to be your new nickname.” To say the least, everyone loved the nickname from all the upperclassmen to every single coach. It was by far probably the most iconic nickname in my high school from my sophomore year to my senior year.

When I say everyone called me Beanie, it was everyone from all students to all the teachers, athletic directors, athletic trainers, security guards – and even the principal.

But then, people would start linking it to racist situations. They would say that I was called Beanie because of my skin color or that it was because I am a “Mexican jumping bean.”

I never let it bother me, because I knew it had to be something more than it just referring to my race. After all, my head coach gave it to me, and he is like my second dad.

One day, my junior year, my coach and I were walking back down from a practice and he said, “Beanie, you ever heard of the story of the carrot, the egg, and the coffee bean?”

Of course, I respond with “no coach.” Then he continued to tell me the story about how each item was placed in hot water. The carrot came out softer. The fragile egg came out hardened, but the ground coffee beans flourished into coffee. He said that it reminded him a lot of me, achieving despite adversity.

That was the beginning of my nickname. Honestly looking back at this, I am glad that I got the nickname Beanie because it relates a lot to what I have been through in life. It is the reason why I brought this nickname over from Jersey to Castleton.

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