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Claimed:Flippin' Good [Final: 10/10]

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Flippin' Good: The Story of Felipe Rodriguez


Felipe was born to a poor cobbler, Juan Dolores Rodriguez, and his wife, Josefina, on March 11, 1997 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.  He lived with his parents and grandparents in a small, two-bedroom house.  His father and grandfather worked repairing shoes out of this house as their only source of income.  Growing up, his parents were just barely scraping by.  As soon as Felipe was old enough, he would try to earn whatever money he could by cleaning and shining shoes for people in the street.  He would give what little money he earned to his parents to help put food on the table.  He was taught from a very young age that life was not always easy.  One place Felipe could find happiness was playing soccer.  He would play soccer in the street with the neighborhood kids whenever he was not working.  As to not ruin the one pair of shoes he had playing soccer, he would often play barefoot and come home with blistered and bloodied toes and feet.


Felipe was a very gifted athlete and a great soccer player.  A scout for the Guadalajara Chivas Junior team would often find young kids who played soccer in the street and sidewalks and would give them an opportunity to play for a real team if he thought they had what it would take.  This scout took notice of a little dirty-faced six or seven year old dribbling his way around and through the other boys.  The scout spoke with Felipe and asked him to speak to his parents about possibly playing for the junior team.  Felipe was excited for the opportunity and was hoping this would mean his family could afford to get the things they needed like running water.  Felipe spoke with his family and of course, they could not have been happier.  This, oddly enough, is the beginning of how Felipe got interested in hockey.

Felipe was a great natural talent when it came to soccer.  He played all positions on the team excluding goal keeper.  He seemed to have a knack for the defensive side of the ball.  The Chivas Jr. training facility was like an exclusive, members-only gym.  Televisions, vending machines, and even smoothie bars were sprinkled among the weight benches and treadmills.  Every night after practice, Felipe would hang around and watch television, something he did not have access to at home.  He was flipping through the channels when he came across something that would change his life forever, Liga Mexicana Elite, the local hockey league.  He had absolutely no idea what he was watching, but he was hooked!  He could not stop watching it.  He couldn't stop thinking about it.  That night, when he got home, he found some scrap wood, nails, and duct tape and made a makeshift hockey stick.  He smashed a soda can, wrapped it in duct tape and that became his "puck."  He recreated some of the goals he saw in the game with his new "stick" and "puck," failing miserably.  He thought soccer, or futbol, was his best chance at success so he played that for may years, all the while dreaming of one day playing this new sport would be an option for him.

He kept practicing hockey even though he never knew if he would get to play with anyone more than himself.  His shot improved but he still had never had a chance to ice skate, he didn't even know if he'd be able to.  One day, walking home from soccer practice, he saw a poster on the side of a building. "Open Tryouts for Liga Mexicana Elite," it read.  This was the opportunity Felipe had been waiting for.  The only issue was the ice rink was a 4 hour bus ride away.  Felipe took some time away from soccer practice to focus on work and earning enough money for the bus trip.  He worked as much as he could with his father and grandfather, neither of whom knew what he had planned.  Once he earned enough money to buy a bus ticket, he told his family he was taking a trip with the soccer team, and left with nothing but the shirt on his back.  He still loved soccer, but he felt if he did not try out, he would always regret not knowing what might have been.

When he arrived at the rink, he had to wait in a long line just to enter.  They took everyone's name, measured their height and weight, and asked if they were left handed or right handed, and what position they'd be interested in trying out for.  He knew he enjoyed defenseman in soccer so that is the position he chose.  He seemed to be the only one there without his own skates or stick.  Fortunately for him, they had spare skates in his size and a right handed stick that had been left over from previous years' tryouts.  It took him forever to get his skates on the first time.  They were like nothing he had ever worn before.  Also, once he got on the ice, it looked like a Three Stooges sketch with him "cleaning the ice." He fell several times at first, but once he got his "ice legs" he was a natural skater.  All his work with his home made "stick" and "puck" had paid off too.  He was impressive out on the ice, especially considering he had never had actual equipment to use.  The try outs lasted a whole weekend so each day he was a little more comfortable skating and moving the puck.  They performed shooting drills where Felipe excelled as well as skating drills, where Felipe could have used some more work.



At 15 year old, Felipe was the youngest player to make a roster.  The Teotihuacan Priests took a risk and snagged up this undersized defenseman from the streets of Guadalajara.  His rookie year, the Priests went on to win the championship with him getting solid ice team for them considering the circumstances.  He played for Teotihuacan the entire time he was in the Liga Mexicana Elite.  Every year he improved with the team.  Every aspect of his game got better simply by playing.  This was a whole new sport to him, some of the athletic requirements of soccer prepared his body for the stamina needed for hockey but it was a huge adjustment.  By his 4th season he was getting time in the first defensive pairing as well as playing point on the power play.  There's not a big market for hockey in Mexico so he sought out playing elsewhere.  In 2015 he made the jump to the VHLM where he joined the Ottawa Lynx as a free agent.  And the rest, as they say, is history...


Edited by evrydayimbyfuglien
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Overview: 5/5 - Great biography here. Lots of details about his early life, etc etc. Interesting how he could have been a soccer player.

Grammar: 3/3 - Nothing much to find for mistakes.

"He knew he enjoyed defenseman in soccer" - being a defenseman

"At 15 year old," - years

Presentation: 1/1 - Probably could have used a couple of heads, like "Early Life:", "Soccer Beginnings", or something like that. It's fine though, either way. Nothing deductible.

Over 1000 Words? 1/1

Overall: 10/10

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