Island Culture Magazine: Your Support as a baseball player with Caribbean roots from? What was the role of your parents? Have your parents always been supportive of your sports activities? Other than your parents who have been your biggest supporters?
Lance Byron: My mom, is from Trinidad and my dad is from St. Kitts. At 5 years old my mother registered me for Little League baseball in Stafford, Texas. She was always on the sideline videotaping and taking still pictures. My parents made numerous sacrifices to ensure I attended practices and games as scheduled. They did this while working full time. My mother was pursuing a Master’s Degree and was multitasking working full time, attending college and taking care of her children but always there. Additionally, I played basketball, football and was an active cub scout. My sister Keisha, my brother Kyle and my grandfather were my traveling fans and followed me whenever I played.
Island Culture Magazine: Your Baseball Highlights How old were you when you first got interested in sports and what position do you play? Who are your sports heroes, and what do you admire most about them. Please describe the highlights of playing baseball including records you’ve broken.
Lance Byron: My brother Kyle introduced me to basketball at my first birthday. I started to walk at 9 months old and was shooting on a toy basketball goal at 1. Organized league at Stafford Youth Basketball Association was competitive when I started playing at 5 years old. I was ahead of most kids my age because of my height and played Center position. My sports heroes are the Basketball player, Damien Lillard. My admiration for him extends beyond the court for his humble passive attitude and dedication to the game. He is relentless in his pursuit of excellence at every level and trains viciously. Baseball player, Robinson Cano second baseman from the Seattle Mariners, is originally from the Dominican Republic. He received the Golden Glove award in 2010 and 2012. He also received the Silver Slugger award in 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with a high batting average. He is considered one of the greatest hitters in baseball with playing only 11 seasons in Major League Baseball.
Island Culture Magazine: Your Future Aspirations – What are your future aspirations do you aspire to become a Major League player? If so, what steps have you taken to accomplish that goal?
Lance Byron: I am very passionate about the game of baseball. After playing for the first year at Sta-Mo League, I was selected to the All-Star team. Every year since then I represented Sta-Mo League in every division, and our team won the Division Championship in Pinto division in 2005. Baseball fuels my adrenaline to be better at every phase batting, fielding, and pitching. I have played at Varsity level during high school while playing for the Houston Astros Urban Youth Team. For three consecutive years, we won the Regional tournament and had elevated to the RBI World Series. I had the opportunity to meet Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Cincinnati Reds owner and the commissioner of baseball.
Island Culture Magazine: What do your coaches have in common? Name one or two things they do in training that directly contribute to your success. What were the obstacles you had to overcome while balancing academics and sports?
Lance Byron: My basketball, baseball and football coaches were all experienced coaches, fathers, and mentors. Their philosophy in life has been “ respect all but fear none.” The two things they do in training that directly contribute to my success are thoughtful planning and explaining the importance and benefits of a particular routine daily for success as an athlete. The major obstacles I had to overcome while balancing academics and sports was time management and exceeding the expectations of my parents. Practice makes perfect and keeping a routine of school, practice and completing assignments could be challenging at times.
Island Culture Magazine: How will you create cultural value that leads to progress of social culture while playing Major League Baseball?
Lance Byron: Baseball is a sport that is played globally. Unfortunately, it is an expensive sport compared to basketball and football. Bat, gloves, and ball are required. This puts economically challenged children on the back burner with getting the gears to be effective. I was fortunate enough to be one of the players selected by Major League Baseball to receive the exposure of traveling and participating in tournaments, and these gears and instructions were provided. My plans are to bring the game of baseball to more minorities and promote many opportunities available through this great American past time.
Island Culture Magazine: What programs would you implement into your community that empowers academically, economically and culturally?
Lance Byron: It has been my experience attending Boys and Girls Club of America for more than 3 years that school age children need extra-curricular activities but parents are so stressed with putting food on the table that they are not able to get their children involved by taking them to practice and games. The cost also associated with game gear and equipment is just not available. I would reach out to businesses and individuals to establish scholarships to provide a means for deserving students. This will extend beyond athletics and include opportunities for tutoring and cultural awareness. As an Eagle Scout and an Ambassador of the National Society of High School Scholars, I see this as my mission to reach the children with talent, skills, and ability to reach for the stars. Additionally, the children who may not have considered the game of baseball may need to know that they can excel with the right direction.
Island Culture Magazine: As the “New Face of The Caribbean,” how do you envision your legacy… to continue to inspire generations to come.
Lance Byron: As a freshman at Prairie View A &M University, I embrace the strong nurturing environment. Professors are not just imparting knowledge but building relationships and leadership skills in and out of the classroom. I envision my legacy to stimulate the next generation of leaders by returning to Stafford High School, Boy Scout troops, and other youth to pursue their dreams realistically and not be afraid to challenge themselves to learn something new and positive that their parents may not have encouraged. Families may all pursue medical careers, and that is okay, but I think it is also important to consider Engineering, Business or even Public Service to bring about awareness and balance.