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Of All the Titles, They Cherish "Dad" the Most... Pageant Titles Go to Cousins
Of All the Titles, They Cherish "Dad" the Most
by GREG COTE
June 20, 2004
It is Father's Day. So let the fathers speak.
Carl Lowell can blink his eyes shut and make about 25 years disappear.
''Mikey is sitting in the hallway of our house at age 3 or 4 with a little rubber ball, throwing it against the wall and catching it,'' recalls the father, his Puerto Rican heritage flavoring the words. ``Against the garage, same thing. Always.''
So easy, it is. Effortless. A man can cast his mind back, and suddenly Mike Lowell is not the Marlins' top hitter and All-Star third baseman. Not yet. First he is a small boy in an oversized cap, swinging a big-barreled plastic Flintstones bat at a Whiffle ball.
Mikey in elementary school. The local park, every Wednesday. A worn bag of 50 baseballs. Dad pitching, Mikey learning to hit. Slurpees at 7-Eleven on the way home. Every Wednesday.
''Baseball was No. 1, and I loved it,'' says Mr. Lowell, a dentist in Coral Gables and once a national-team pitcher for Puerto Rico. ``My favorite days were Wednesdays.''
Mike at Coral Gables High, then Florida International University, his father at every game. It wasn't always easy.
''You tell your patients you are at a seminar,'' says the doctor with a wink.
Carl Lowell and his wife sit in Section 149 now at Marlins games, rarely missing one, sometimes accompanied by Mike's wife and daughter, almost 3.
``I'm a very anonymous individual; I don't wear a hat that says I'm Mike Lowell's Dad. I don't like a lot of external interruptions.''
Mike, who has survived testicular cancer, wept at the 2002 All-Star Game when speaking of his father, who had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Neither has had a recurrence, although the family got a scare last year when Mike's routine checkup showed something that turned out to be nothing.
''That was the only time in my life that I've been angry at God,'' his father says, of those hours when it was feared Mike's cancer had returned. ``When it affects your kids, it affects you 10 times more.''
Your son may have swapped his plastic Flintstones bat for a major-league variety, but you know what? You never stop being his father.
Pageant Titles Go to Cousins
By ENID ARBELO, Staff Writer
July 12, 2004
One wins Miss Puerto Rico, other is crowned princess.
Determination paid off Sunday for a duo who said they wouldn't leave without the crowns at the 35th annual Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester Cultural Pageant.
Six teenage girls, ranging from 13 to 16, competed for a chance to win the title of Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester in front of more than 200 spectators, family and friends at the Eisenhart Auditorium of the Rochester Museum & Science Center.
Barefoot and dressed in long dresses with flaring skirts and red roses in their hair, the girls danced to a traditional Puerto Rican beat and introduced themselves to the crowd.
Next, each girl got a chance to share her "cultural expression," which was like the talent segment at most pageants.
Following that, there was a poise and elegance portion in which each young lady wore a gown.
The last segment was answering the final question.
Erika Green took home the title of Miss Puerto Rico, and her cousin Yadira Nunez was crowned princess.
"They have been in this together since the beginning," said Rosa Vega-Delapaz, Erika's mother.
Vega-Delapaz said the cousins vowed to work together and do their best until the end. It was a real family victory, she said.
"I never thought this would happen to me. I just wanted to do my best," Erika said minutes after being crowned.
Although Erika said she was happy with the outcome, she noted the strong sisterhood that came from the competition.
She also saw the pageant as a way to learn more about her background.
Over the four months of preparation, the girls work on self-esteem and motivation.
To compete, the girls had to complete an application and meet an academic, participation and community service requirement.
They also had to research their culture and write an essay about the cultural expression they would perform.
The mission of the pageant, sponsored by the Puerto Rican Festival Inc., is to provide young Latinas the opportunity to exemplify the positive values and qualities of their Puerto Rican culture and history, said Monica Miranda Smalls, vice president of the board of directors.
"It brings the women together at a young age," Smalls said.