The Blue Streaks’ Motivator: The Alan Garcia Ruiz Story

The Blue Streak's Motivator: The Alan Garcia Ruiz story
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:54 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:57 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - When it comes to motivation for the Harrisonburg High School football team, Alan Garcia Ruiz is in charge.

“I like to give the players a hard time, keep them pushing,” said Garcia Ruiz. “Motivate them and make them feel happy.”

Garcia Ruiz, who spends most of his day in a motorized wheelchair, is officially listed as a manager for the Blue Streaks and he has an important role on the coaching staff.

“At practice he is responsible for keeping us on time so he blows the whistle to start and end each segment,” said HHS head coach Kyle Gillenwater.

Garcia Ruiz admits he didn’t know much about football until a chance meeting with Gillenwater at the high school when he was looking for someone to help fix an issue with his wheelchair.

“He rolled into the weight room one day and he had a problem with his chair and asks to get it fixed,” said Gillenwater. “And at that point we started talking about working out and he started lifting with the team and coming everyday after school and he wanted to be part of the program and just kept growing so we gave him more responsibility and he shows up every day.”

As a graduate of Harrisonburg High School, Garcia Ruiz is now attending Blue Ridge Community College with hopes of eventually transferring to James Madison University to pursue a degree in Industrial Design.

But make no mistake, he’s completely committed to helping the Blue Streaks win as many games as possible this season.

“It’s amazing,” said Garcia Ruiz. “It’s like a dream come true because when it was like my last day of senior year, I thought to myself I would never see my friends ever again. So when I started coaching, I was so happy to see my friends again.”