Tribute to one special sports mom

The passing of Juanita Reyes was sad news. I think about her life and her family and it brings a smile to my face. She is gone, but the family she raised, along with her husband, Daniel, have carried her legacy through their actions.

The nine children Juanita and Daniel raised serve as a testament to parenting and making do with what you have and what you make it.

I was first impressed with the competitive nature of each of Juanita’s children. They were warriors, bred to survive, yet humble and respectful.

With nine of them at the dinner table, I bet minding your manners was a top priority.

I became familiar with each and every one of the nine siblings as a sports editor and a fellow competitor in city leagues. I admired the tenacity they played with and their assertive nature. It was obvious the passion they carried for sports came from the home.

It was an outlet that was based on achieving high academic standards, contributing to the family way and making sure that the household had many hands on deck.

No doubt, this was Juanita’s way.

Once I began covering Wildcat athletics and city leagues, it was clear to see that the Reyes athletes were among the best the city had to offer. From Little League to NCAA Division I schools, you could find a Reyes at the top of a roster and Juanita and Daniel cheering them on.

The Reyes’ prowess for performance in athletic arenas led me to meet Juanita. I was curious as to who raised these kids who stand out in crowds and on the playing fields. I also had a batch of black-and-whites of her children in action that she might be interested in.

The photo offer did not stand a chance. With nine kids filtering through Wildcat and Lady ‘Cat uniforms, purchasing sports photos was (pardon the pun) not in the picture.

The one thing I could count on while covering Deming High sports was seeing Juanita and Daniel in the stands — both wearing cardinal and navy. For a time being, the couple wore silver, black and teal while attending Organ Mountain (then Oñate) High School baseball games in Las Cruces, where their son, David, coached for many years.

It was apparent the Reyes kids had a passion for sports. It was also evident that they excelled because of a strong work ethic, a commitment to the sport and an assertive approach that could lead a team by example.

Rosa, Daniel, Johnny, Armando, Paul, Mario David, Gracie and Christy made Juanita proud. They are a reflection of their mother and can now provide the same love and nurturing to their own children.

Rest in peace, Juanita.

Billy Armendariz is the Headlight sports editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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