Feb. 13, 2006
Imagine being 5,380 miles from home. Now, imagine not seeing your parents for two years and enrolling at a new school. Then add to that learning a new style of basketball.
If you can put those things together, you might know how it feels to be senior forward Diego Romero.
Growing up in Comodoro, Rivadavia, Argentina, Romero was a soccer player. Ever since he could walk he was on the soccer field. Like most children from Argentina, his sports role model growing up was Diego Maradona, an Argentinean soccer player.
When the 6-10 giant turned 15, he became too tall to play soccer and transferred from the soccer field to the basketball
court. His athletics role model is San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. That means he has been playing basketball
for only eight years.
When he moved from Argentina, Romero had to learn a new way of playing basketball, or `baloncesto’ as they call it back home. After playing on the Argentinean Junior National Team and Argentinean U-20 National Team, he had to
learn yet another style of playing at Lon Morris Junior College in Texas before transferring to Florida State.
“Here is more running and shooting,” Romero said. “On the Argentina National Team, the coaches would call plays and run the team calling one, two, three, four, five. Here it involves more running and getting an easy bucket.”
The reason the senior captain came to America was his education.
“My mom and my dad always put school before everything,” Romero explained. “That is the main reason I came to
the States — to get my degree before beginning my career in basketball.”
Being far from home, Romero, who averages 5.3 points a game, is unable to see his family very often. Because he is the only one in his family in the United States, he visits home as much as possible.
“I go home every time I can; the last time was two years ago,” Romero said.
With the added pressure of not going home, his parents are unable to visit him here in the United States, as they cannot obtain visas to visit the States.
Although his parents do not understand English, they listen to every game that is broadcast on Seminoles.com. At this year’s senior game, Romero will not be able to have his parents escort him onto the court.
When Diego transferred from Lon Morris Junior College, he faced a new challenge, classes at Florida State. When Diego walked into his first class here, he was surprised at what he saw.
“My history class, the first one I took at Florida State, is my favorite class that I have taken here,” he said. “When I walked into the room, there were 500 people. My junior college had about 10 people in each class room. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, `What have I gotten myself into?'”
While dealing with the other dilemmas, Romero is continually adapting to America’s culture and unique differences.
For example, Argentina has a population of 39,537,943; to put that into perspective, California has a population of 33,871,097. The biggest difference between the two countries, according to Romero, is the way people act.
“Down there, anywhere you go in Argentina they will be friendly to you,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you are from, how you look or how you dress, they are going to be friendly to you. In the States, I feel like at Florida State and Texas, everyone was friendly, but some places where you go, they are not that way.”
Although Romero is from another country, he is not as diff e rent from the rest of the team. His role models growing up were his p a rents. After college he wants to start his own family. And, of course, his favorite food is his mom’s cooking.
Romero has adjusted to a different style of basketball and a larger school.
After beating those challenges, he still faces being in a different hemisphere than his family. After facing all these tests,
Romero has turned out to be an asset of the team and as a student at Florida State.
By MaryJane Gardner FSU Sports Information