Father, coach gives big to sports
There’s one reason why kids ought to play sports, according to Jesus Chuy.
“It keeps them out of trouble, keeps them busy. Personally, I think sports is the greatest thing for kids,” Chuy said.
Chuy, pronounced “chewy,” is one of hundreds who have donated to Support South Tahoe Athletic Teams in the eight months since Measure L, a proposed parcel tax to fund schools, failed to pass. Without the funding, two schools closed, several teacher positions were eliminated and the future of athletics programs was sent into serious doubt.
Thanks to folks like Chuy, sports programs have not only kept going, they’ve all gone into post-season play at the high school.
Chuy forked over $5,000 to the fund-raising organization.
“I’m a sports guy, what can I say? I work my butt off; if I can give back, I think that’s the greatest thing. I donate to everything,” Chuy said.
Chuy’s donations come from fruit of years of hard work. Raised in an immigrant family, he seized on America as a land of opportunity.
He remembers crossing the border from Mexico with illegal papers, pretending to be asleep with his two little twin sisters when he was 7. He saw his parents work two jobs, dishwashing for 25 years in South Lake Tahoe, and knew he could have a better life.
“I’ve always been around good people, a lot of motivators. When I got out of high school, I went into construction, because I saw how much money you could make,” Chuy said. “My brother was my role model; he really taught me the business.”
Chuy grew up in South Lake Tahoe and played soccer at the high school. He said it kept him out of trouble. Now, his son plays soccer at the high school and Chuy coaches a team for lower-income kids.
“He just gets it as far as athletics are concerned,” said STAT president Mark Garratt, who is also a father of three boys in South Shore schools. “He knows the importance of what athletics has done for him and his family.”
Chuy isn’t exaggerating when he says he gives to everything. He donated $3,000 to the South Tahoe boys’ soccer team and spends $3,000 a year on the club team he coaches, Tahoe Ice, for low-income youths.
“Growing up, we never had the money to travel with sports, and go to tournaments; we always felt left out. I know there’re so many kids who are Hispanic who probably can’t afford it.”
He said the atmosphere during the campaign for Measure L was challenging.
“It was really hard. I had friends that voted against it, and we had our arguments,” he said. “I’m not a politician.”
But many agree STAT has brought people together again. Chuy is one of about 25 people who donated more than $1,000 to the fund-raiser.
“Virtually everyone was in accord about the importance of athletics in our community and to our youth, regardless of how they voted on the measure,” said Garratt.