#Cuauhtémocing: How A Soccer Legend Activated the Adventurous Explorer in Me – Michelle Piñon



If I’ve appeared naturally suave and adventurous, I’ve misled you. Any semblance of social grace has been years in the making for this Piñon. Actually, any of form of “grace” comes unnaturally to me. Including the kind where I don’t trip over my own skis and slide headfirst intro a row of unsuspecting skiers…which happened to me three weeks ago. So yeah… I’m not suave.



Those who know me well know that I’m hopelessly awkward. Actually, anybody who knows me …


And soccer players…they’re about as un-Michelle like as you can be. Those folks are everything I’ve ever striven to be. During my lanky awkward youth, I idolized  futbolistas. Because, frankly, I just didn’t understand how.

Como es possible moverse con tanta agilidad? Did he just do that with his feet? How..what…no mames!

Naturally, as a prepubescent girl, siempre me enamoraba de los futbolistas. Chances are if you played in soccer in high school, I had a massive crush you. (I might still have a crush on you, who knows…) And, also because I was a prepubescent girl, I was immensely self-conscious. So, I ended up admiring such feats of agility (and attractiveness) from afar. Even as I pined for soccer players, I have always shied away from the game itself. Soccer demands intense finesse and coordination and I often miss my mouth when I eat.



Am I falling or messing around? The world will never know.


When it comes to soccer gods I idolized growing up,  Cuauhtémoc Blanco reigned supreme (sorry Chivas fans). Para los que no lo conocen, Blanco played most of his career with América and invented Cuauhtemiña, which remains one of the sickest soccer moves you’ll ever see.  Blanco was well known for the poses he would strike after sinking in goals. He was well known for this gem in particular –


I encountered this pose a lot growing up and distinctly remember watching folks in high school imitate Cuauhtémoc whenever they were out on the field. The pose meant something special to me then. It was a moment of Mexican pride, it was a celebration of finesse, it was accomplishment embodied. I craved something like that for myself. That’s where #Cuauhtémocing comes in for me.


#Cuauhtémocing at Rainier

#Cuauhtémocing is for those rare moments when I’m trekkin’ like a fearless mountain goat.  The mountains change you – for me, they challenged me to think of myself less as a awkward lump and more as a adventurous explorer. Going outside, spending summers frolicking in national parks, made my life better because I became less self-conscious.  Now, I worry so much less about my weight, my inherited lack of grace and physical imperfections –there’s no time for that when you’re outside feeling strong.



#Cuauhtémocing at Crater Lake National Park…with some birthday balloons that floated into the forest.


The #Cuauhtémocing poses I strike against majestic backdrops pay homage to my transformation over the last couple years. It’s been slow going, yes, but I’ve nonetheless moved away from my insecurities (thinking that I was hopelessly awkward and clumsy) to reinventing myself as a bold adventuress.

So yeah…if on occasion I do seem suave and adventurous, please know that it’s been years in the making.



Here’s some of my friends #Cuahtémocing with me



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Michelle Piñon is Latino Outdoors’ Regional Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest. Outside of Latino Outdoors, Michelle is also the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for Puget Soundkeeper and a Natural Leader. Michelle spends the vast majority of her time either outside or plotting how to be outside. She also loves Justin Bieber in a non-ironic way.

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