Passion for game strengthens Father-Daughter bond

By Andres Sahagun

Being an athlete comes with a lot of pressure and expectations, but softball player Alicia Amaya has to deal with the extra pressure from her father, assistant coach Leo Amaya.

Both share a love for baseball, and trace it back to Leo’s youth when he would watch and play.

Leo’s passion for the game had passed on to his daughter when she joined her first baseball team at the age of four.

From the beginning, Leo coached her team. Alicia eventually switched to playing softball, but Leo made sure to learn anything new alongside his daughter.

Leo was a coach before Alicia played any sport, but his passion grew once his daughter started to play.

“I have coached since I was 16. I think I loved it more when I started coaching my own kid,” Leo said.

As a coach, Leo has to be fair to all the girls on the team and make sure there is no bias.

He must differentiate between father and coach.

“She knows once we hit the field, I’m coach. I’m not dad. She gets the same things that other players do,” Leo said.

Alicia has played with the same girls since her childhood. Leo has made sure to make them all feel equal and treat the team like his own family.

Once they are off campus, Leo shifts into father mode and tells his daughter all she can do to improve her game. As a father, he is strict with her at home and wants her to be the best player she can be.

“I would say he pushes me harder than the other girls because he knows what I’m capable of,” Alicia said.

While it may get annoying for her at times, she has accepted it and realized he only wants the best for her.

Alicia attended Chaminade University of Honolulu this past year and played softball with them before coming to ELAC.

She said it was a good experience. Her father said it was one of his proudest moments because she grew as a person.

Eventually, Alicia got homesick and came back to Los Angeles.

While she was away, Leo became an assistant coach for ELAC’s softball team.

This was perfect for Alicia because once she enrolled at ELAC, she joined.

Father and daughter have found a way to be professional on the field, and family off it. This allows them to make each other better at what they do.

At the end of the day, Leo makes sure to remind his daughter she is still a student athlete and to keep up with all her studies. Alicia has been able to handle both. She has maintained her performance on the field and good grades in the classroom.

With a bumpy start to the season, Leo believes with the help of players and coaches, the team can make a playoff run.

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