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Home News-Telegram News Eddie Arciga represents the best of a ‘team player’

Eddie Arciga represents the best of a ‘team player’

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Eddie Arciga is a team player. Just ask Sulphur Springs High School’s Athletic Director Greg Owens and Fine Arts Director Charles McCauley, the two men who relied on Arciga’s skills during the past four football seasons.

While in high school, Arciga was a line running back for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats. At halftime, he pulled off his pads and picked up a trombone or a tuba and transformed into a member of the Wildcats award-winning marching band.

“Eddie is one of those kids that, when he’s given something to do, you know it’s going to get done,” McCauley said during an interview last Tuesday. “He’s the ultimate team player.”

Arciga’s football coach agrees.

“Eddie does his best,” Owens said in a telephone interview from the district track meet on Wednesday. “He’s always going to give you 100 percent.”

Arciga, now 18, says he picked up the trombone in the fifth grade after a friend said he was going to take band.

“I decided to take band because Andrew Dulud told me he was going to do it,” Arciga said. “I picked the trombone because that was Andrew’s instrument. He convinced me into going into band. Before that, I was going to take art.”

Arciga has also played tuba and baritone for the Wildcat band.

While he was first chair trombone in the marching band, Arciga favors his role in the symphonic band.

“I like symphonic band,” he said. “My favorite songs are the slow ones. You can add so much more to them.”

During the symphonic band’s concert last Tuesday night, Arciga had a solo. When the band played at symphonic UIL contest in Mount Pleasant on Thursday, Arciga was again up for a moment in the spotlight.

“I don’t worry about his performances. Eddie always rises to the occasion – Always,” McCauley explained. “I know he’s put in the practice time and I know he’s going to do great.”

Arciga, who is ranked in the top 10 of his graduating class, made the UIL Area Symphonic Band two years in a row.

“I was second chair my sophomore year and first chair my junior year,” he explained.

This year, on the day before regional tryouts, Arciga injured his lip during football practice.

“You know how Eddie Murphy’s lips looked in ‘The Nutty Professor,’” McCauley said. “That’s what Eddie [Arciga] looked like. It was eight or nine days before the state playoffs.”

Arciga took care of his injury and was ready to play in the halftime show.

“It was so typical of Eddie. I wasn’t surprised.” McCauley said. “When he asked me if I could play, I said, ‘Man, yes.’ How many kids can say I played football in a state championship game and a trombone solo during halftime?”

McCauley thought so much of Arciga’s talent that he added a special arrangement of “Hey, Jude” to the halftime program during the 2008 football season.

“The crowd just went wild when they saw Eddie take off his shoulder pads and pick up his instrument,” McCauley said. “I think he got a lot of standing ovations because the crowd appreciated that kind of work ethic and seeing that kind of talent being used in a positive way.”

Arciga also applied his strong work ethic to his athletic pursuits.

“He played football. He powerlifted. He ran track,” Owens said. “And he was great with the younger kids during our camps. He gives back.”

Arciga says that powerlifting is his best sport.

“It’s my main sport,” he explained. “I made it to regionals the past two years, but I scratched out at the regional meet this year.”

Arciga won four meets this year and was nominated as best lifter in the lighweight divisions three times. “I have plaques,” he said as he smiled broadly.

Owens believes Arciga’s attitude has a lot to do with his success.

“I’ve never seen him have a bad day,” Owens explained. “He’s got a terrific attitude towards life and a great personality. He’s a well rounded kid that gets along well with everyone.”

While Arciga wasn’t in the Wildcats’ starting lineup, Owens said “the crowd went crazy when he got to play.”

When asked to explain how it felt to hear the crowd cheer, Arciga dropped his head, smiled and said, “It makes me feel special.”

Arciga credits his father, José, with giving him a good work ethic. “Neither of my parents went to high school in Mexico,” he explained. “My father had to go to work when he was eight years old.”

The other members of Arciga’s family include his mother, Elida, 12-year-old brother Jesus (whom he got to name), who plays baritone in the sixth grade band and sister Stephanie, 11.

Arciga says his teachers have also enriched his education.

“Sometimes when you’re young, you can’t really appreciate how important your teachers are,” he said. “Now, when I look at them, they’re always smiling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mr. McCauley not smiling. And, even when we lost the two games this year, Coach Owens didn’t get mad. They put their faith in the Lord. I look up to that.”

Both Owens and McCauley say that coordination and cooperation played a large part in making it possible for Eddie to participate in football and band.

“We’re both pretty flexible,” Owens said. “We want them to be involved in everything.”

“We encouraged it,” McCauley said. “We want kids like Eddie to give one hundred percent to both groups and we’re going to support him. It’s about the kids. Kids come first. Programs are secondary.”

Owens and McCauley are going to miss Arciga on the sidelines next fall. “He’s a kid that we will truly miss,” Owens said.

"I’m going to miss having him as my student,” McCauley said.

Arciga wants to attend college at Texas A&M University in Commerce, where he plans to major in pre-med. He plans to play in the symphonic band, but will not suit up for the gridiron.

“I don’t think I can do both in college,” he said. “I want to be a neurosurgeon.”
When asked why he thinks he’s been successful at everything he’s tried so far, Arciga says that he owes everything to God.

McCauley agreed, saying, “And that’s the real deal. He’s not just saying that. He walks it.”

Arciga says that he and his high school friends try to do the right thing and he believes the school is rewarded. This year, the football team won the first state championship in the school’s history.

“When you’re doing the right things, you get rewarded for it,” he explained. “That’s the biggest reason our school has had success.

“I credit everything that I’ve done to God,” Arciga said. “My character comes from God. It’s the strongest thing in my life. I am really into the Bible and I try to live up to what it says.”

 

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