South Fork Athlete Spotlight: Noelia Alatorre
A generation ago she might not have played at all, but now she is part of a wave of young Hispanic female athletes who are making themselves known on high school campuses all over the North Coast.
Noelia is a frequent flyer on the honor roll, has participated in a wide variety of community service projects and plans to attend college to go into dentistry. We had a chance to visit with her recently about her athletic career and the changing attitudes toward Hispanic girls competing in organized athletics in our community.“When I was a freshman I didn’t notice as many Latina girls playing as I do now. Nowadays it seems like there are an even number of whites and Latinas playing” While Noelia never experienced discouraging attitudes towards her participation within her own family, “a couple years ago I feel like I noticed it with people around me.”
However, she feels things are changing and doors are opening for Hispanic girls in the sports world. “I do think Latino males are becoming more open-minded about females playing sports. There are some guys that always think they’ll be better than girls in sports and there are others that treat girls the same and just as fairly as other guys.”
When asked if she ever sensed prejudice among coaches, officials or teammates in sports she replied, “I personally don’t think I’ve been treated differently by white coaches or teammates. There have been close ones around me that feel otherwise. But with refs, I sometimes have felt I was being treated differently, but I am just assuming, I don’t know for sure.”
With opponents she has noticed some hostility. “Playing against American girls, I’ve experienced racism and being threatened and told to go back to where I came from, even though I’m from here. Other rude things have been said, all because we were opponents.” Nevertheless, Noelia’s passion for sports never suffered because of these negative comments or attitudes, and she continued to play
Noelia intends to keep up with sports after her graduation in June. She wants to play community college soccer and basketball. Beyond that: “In the future I want my nieces and daughters to play sports. I will probably tell them not to let any male or anyone else tell them they can’t play because they’re female or Hispanic. Anything a male can do, a female can, too.” <
South Fork has benefited from Noelia’s talent, leadership, intense spirit of competition for four years. “My high school experience of playing sports has been amazing,” she says. “I wouldn’t have let anyone tell me I couldn’t do it just because I was Hispanic.”