La Feria News

Senior Spotlight: Azrael “AZ” Gamboa

Name: Azrael “AZ” Gamboa
School: La Feria
Sport: Tennis

When did you start playing tennis?
When I was in the 7th grade at W.B. Green Middle School.

What do you like most about tennis?
My teammates. They can be childish at times, but they always put a smile on my face and manage to step up when they need to.

What’s the best game you’ve ever played?
I can’t say it was my best game, but my most memorable game was when Coach Rodriguez, my head coach at the time, set me to play with my friend Robert. He did this because Robert’s partner didn’t show up. This game stays in my head because our energy was incredible, which made the match entertaining.

Talk a little about your high school tennis career.
My high school tennis career has been rocky since multiple complications during my freshman and sophomore year. Freshman year started with a surgery that took me out of school for a week and athletics for a month. This was due to complications from a surgery. Sophomore year I was out for the entire second semester because I stressed my back and right hip joint to the point where I needed physical therapy. I’d like to say that this year has been the best since my team and I made it to the regionals semifinals. This year we proved that the La Feria tennis team has what it takes to compete against other district and regional champs.
Do you compete in other sports besides tennis?
No. I regret this because I feel like competing in other sports would have made me a better athlete.

What’s the strongest part of your game?
My serve is probably my greatest weapon I have on the court. During middle school I tried to replicate the serve from the ranked No. 5 high school tennis player in the Valley. During my freshman year I started hitting kick serves, which is one of the hardest serves to return because of the bounce and speed it produces. Ever since then my coach, Noe Moraida, has helped me perfect it to be one of the most dominant serves in the Valley. Although Noe is fairly new to being a head coach, he is one of the best and I wouldn’t be surprised if he raised a state team in the coming years.

What part of your game do you feel needs the most improvement?
I feel like my mental game needs more improvement. On the court I tend to let things get to my head. I get too frustrated and lose my cool, but coach Michelle Sanchez helps me snap out of it. When we played against Pleasanton for team tennis I was getting frustrated on how I was playing, and coach Sanchez talked to me and fixed my head.

Do you plan on going to college?
I’m going to UTRGV and then transferring to UTSA after two years.

What do you want to major in?
The subject I’m interested in majoring in is pre-med. Although pre-med isn’t a major, my main focus is to get into medical school.
What would you like to do in the future?
In the future I’m hoping that I’ll save and heal lives by being a doctor.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food would have to be a nice supreme pizza that isn’t riddled with onion and green pepper.

What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is “Interstellar.” Mathew McConaughey’s performance is amazing and emotional. This movie has great visuals and the science is incredible

What city would you most like to visit?
I would like to visit Chicago to try the food and meet my family that lives there.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
Something that most people don’t know about me is that I’m pretty mature. Although I like to be immature with my friends, I try to sharpen up to be socially accepted.

Talk a little bit about what it’s been like having to endure this break.
This extension of spring break is a shame because of the quarantine order. I’m just worried about what’s left of my senior year.

What are you doing to stay busy?
I am doing home workouts and getting school work done. Once in a while, I go out running with one of the fastest girls in the district, Marina Villanueva.

Do you think the season will be allowed to eventually proceed?
I feel like March 13 was my last tournament and district will be canceled due to this unfortunate event.

IF the entire season is forced to be cancelled, how would that make you feel?
Sadly, I have already come to terms for my season to be canceled, which is unfortunate because I feel like my partner, Damien Cantu, and I had the potential in boys doubles.

What has been the most challenging part of dealing with the break away from normalcy for you?
That I can’t go out with friends and play tennis with my team.

Have you learned anything from having to deal with this unprecedented experience?
This unpredictable event taught me that life is unexpected and that you can’t always control the bad, but you can control the lessons you take from the experience. You just have to roll with the punches life throws at you. And I also learned I should invest in toilet paper companies next time we have a crisis.

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