Saturday, March 1, 2014

DaMarcus Skobrev: a man born of sport and religion

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Aislinn Wishart and Ivan Skobrev, two of Mitakihara Magi MLB DaMarcus Skobrev's grandparents.

DaMarcus Skobrev: a man born of sport and religion

By Kotone Noda
The Daily Magi
November 3, 2064

Mitakihara Magi sophomore middle linebacker DaMarcus Skobrev is a big hunk of love. Standing at an imposing 6'3", 246 lbs, Skobrev comes from a family of sportsmen and a clergyman. His distant uncle, Jeffrey, is the cardinal of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minneapolis after converting from the Russian Orthodox Church as a baby. His grandfather on his father's side, Ivan, was a champion long-distance speed skater while his grandmother on his mother's side, Aislinn Wishart, was a champion riichi mahjong professional.

Neither sport did Damarcus warmed up to. He wanted to play football after playing in the neighborhoods of South Gate, where he was raised. A fan of the San Diego Chargers, Skobrev, nicknamed "Putin" for his resemblance to the late Russian Prime Minister, was a star for the South Gate Rams, earning all-League and all-CIF honors in his last three years at South Gate High.

"I often talk over the phone with Uncle Jeffrey, Grandpa Ivan and Grandma Aislinn about what I'm doing in school, what plays I've made, what I've learned as a student and an athlete," Skobrev said after practice at Hakurei Centre. "I come from a family built on sports, religion and winning. I could have lived in Palos Verdes Estates, but the housing prices were too high, so I ended up spending my life in South Gate.

"It's tough living in South Gate. You always wonder where trouble could be lurking with all the gangs, all the drug dealers, all the bad influences. Probably because I was the white kid, nobody messed around with me, even though my name was DaMarcus. Actually, at South Gate High, they just called me Mark.

"Grandpa Ivan named me DaMarcus because he thought it sounded like a cool, unique name. Years later, I find out that people thought I was a black dude walking the streets looking to get shot. So when they found out, 'dude, that guy's a whitey, don't worry about him,' they called me Mark. And I had a lot of good friends on the football team. Some of them are playing for UCLA, USC, those local schools and JCs.

"As for me, I wanted to play for Mitakihara because I saw it as an escape, a way to get out of the tough life of living in South Gate. Mom and Dad moved with me to Mitakihara because they found work. Now they're in the process of gaining Canadian citizenship. I know that Coach Shinagawa is telling me to hang in there, keep working at it, and soon, it will be my turn to pad the stats and make a lot of big plays.

"I've had a great time so far as a student here at Madoka, but hopefully I will get more playing time and become a star because this is the Best College Football Team in All of College Football that I am a part of. I'm gonna give it my best and make my grandparents and Uncle Jeffrey proud."

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