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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

MVP instead of musician

Kevin Mata started playing baseball when he was four. Last year he choose hitting homeruns over making hit music. Now as a sophomore he’s captain of the varsity team.
Sophomore+Kevin+Mata+is+currently+the+captain+of+the+baseball+team.+He+faced+many+obstacles+on+his+journey+to+the+position%2C+including+choosing+to+pursue+a+career+in+either+music+or+baseball.
Michael Arredondo
Sophomore Kevin Mata is currently the captain of the baseball team. He faced many obstacles on his journey to the position, including choosing to pursue a career in either music or baseball.

Kevin Mata began playing baseball just a few years after he began to walk.

By the time he was in kindergarten, Mata had already been looking up to his older brother, who had been playing baseball for years. With the support of his family, Mata was able to build up the courage to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

“In a way, I always wanted to be like him, but I was always scared to try the things he did,” Mata said. “Eventually, my mom and dad helped me build the courage to start playing baseball.”

Now he’s a sophomore and captain of the varsity team.

Back in middle school, Mata played for both the baseball team and band. When he entered high school, however, Kevin had to make a tough decision between his two favorite hobbies: music and baseball. Deep down, however, he knew his parents and brother would support him regardless of any decision he made.

He ended up choosing to further his baseball career, because he really aspired to be like his older brother.

Little did he know that he was in for a tough ride in his first year.

There was already a lot of drama within the baseball team, and Kevin found himself in the middle of it all. The environment was uncomfortable for many of the players, including Mata.

“It was just super toxic last year,” Mata said. “The way we talked to each other wasn’t great, we would talk crap to and about each other. It was just a lot of conflict back and forth.”

Not only that, his self-esteem dipped throughout his freshman year, to the point where he even considered quitting the team.

“I thought I wasn’t good enough to play,” Mata said. “My whole freshman year, I felt a collapse of confidence, and It just wasn’t fun for me to play baseball.”

But he gave the sport a second chance during his sophomore year, and now, he’s thriving on the varsity team as a captain. His teammates find him to be an amazing captain despite his young age.

“As a captain, he knows when to take things seriously and take charge,” sophomore outfielder Brandon Franco said. “Of course he has a soft side for us. But he always knows what to do, he makes sure everyone on the team knows their part and does it well.”

Mata also struggles to grab the attention of some of the older players on the team. When he became captain, seniority also became a big problem for him, as some of the players on the team refused to listen to him due to his young age.

Nevertheless, Mata knows not to let those types of thoughts affect the way he plays his games.

“Being captain is a big honor,” Mata said. “We had more captains before. Now, we are down to two, and being put on varsity, I just wanted to win. I’m not gonna let being captain change my mindset or anything. I’ll just keep going about my business.”

Mata noticed that the team has improved socially this school year. The team learned to work past their problems together to create a safe and fun environment in order to win their games.

“It comes down to how we treat each other as a team,” Mata said. “ You can have the best players in the world, but if you guys hate each other and treat each other terribly, you have nothing at all.”

With this being only his second year in baseball, he plans to continue playing the sport for the rest of his high school career, with his goal to make it to the MLB.

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About the Contributors
Chioma Chiawa, Staff
Chioma Chiawa is a junior in her first year of journalism. She enjoys reading comic books, baking cookies, and watching the UCLA women's volleyball team. She enjoys reading “Real Friends” by Shannon Hale and listening to A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd. She intends to enter a 4 year university and get her Bachelor's Degree in Nursing.
Since I was a kid my family has always known me to be a sort of wildcard when it comes to doing anything at all. I have changed hobbies throughout my life more times than I can count and my passions have changed numerous times. However my attitude and work ethic has remained the same through it all. At the moment I am interested in producing any sort of media as I look forward to holding a position in the entertainment industry. I am currently employed at Trader Joe’s and have found it to help my social skills and abilities drastically, building my confidence inside, as well as outside of work. In my spare time, which is hard to come by, I enjoy watching movies and dissecting the individual shots and their composition, trying to find the true meaning behind the director's motive. This helps me to expand my creative freedom and draw inspiration from other creators whilst trying to push the boundaries of what was thought to be impossible to capture on a film camera.
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