For Bryan Maestas, growing up in Northern New Mexico taught the Escalante High School graduate that giving respect to others will take someone a long way in life.
“Showing respect to whomever you cross paths with,” Maestas said about what he learned from his childhood. “No matter how old, what gender or even if it was someone you didn’t like, you showed everyone respect.”
Him and his Lobos’ football teammates didn’t always receive respect on their end statewide, which contributed to the success of the program, in Maestas’ eyes.
“The thing about Escalante which made us such a force in football, is that we love being underestimated,” he said. “We love being called small and being told we can’t win. We are a team motivated to do great things and we want that spotlight because we just want to win games.”
As a defensive back on the football field, Maestas was part of the Lobos’ back-to-back state championships in 2014-2015. He called it one of his favorite memories from athletics.
“I made history with my team that will never be forgotten,” Maestas said. “It is something that I am always getting complimented on. Younger kids, such as my brothers, can look forward to (their high school careers) and win more than I did, as we built a foundation for our community.”
Maestas will study health sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque this fall and hopes to become a radiologist. The community values he has gathered over his life make him want to work with the next generation.
“I want to pursue a career working at a children’s hospital,” he said. “I work well with kids and want to improve their well-being.”
Maestas credited his love for science to his teacher, Chris Casaus, who he said always made things fun by fully engaging students in lectures.
“I love science,” Maestas said. “I get to understand how the world works the way it does.”
Something most people don’t know about Maestas, is that his passion and will to succeed all thrive from a person he was never able to meet.
“I just want to make my grandpa proud if he was here,” he said. “I never got to meet him because he passed away before I was born. I am always hearing good things about him. He is my passion because I know he was a good man and I want to be known as the same thing.”
Athletics have taught Maestas a lesson that perhaps his grandfather would have — nothing in life will come easy or in the form of free handouts. The time he put into football and basketball was never rewarded without hard work.
“The one thing athletics taught me that I can carry on in my life, is that nothing is going to come easy for you,” Maestas said. “If you want something, you need to get up and get it done yourself..."
because nothing will ever be handed to you, especially when we become adults.”
As he transitions toward adulthood, Maestas thought about the little things he will miss and the moments often taken for granted.
“There’s no other feeling like football,” he said. “The hits that make your adrenaline go up is what is exciting to me. To be one of the boys of fall is special from where I come from. As for basketball, the thrill of making a 3-pointer or getting a block on someone and hearing the crowd roar is instant goosebumps to me.”
Maestas said he is often asked whether he would chose basketball or football if he could only play one sport. It’s a question that puts him in a bind.
“As much as I love the game of basketball, there’s no feeling like the feeling football gives you on those Friday nights where you play under the lights with your brothers,” he said. “It is something I will dearly miss.”