Family & football


Junior Alex Brown aspires to become a collge athlete, though he has had to overcome many obstacles throughout his life.

By Sara Birrer & Chelsea Pettett | Collaborative Reporters

Junior Alex Brown dreams of playing college football despite facing many life challenges.

Brown’s biggest dream is to one day play his favorite sport at a Division One school, while studying to become a physical therapist.

“I want to get through high school, play football and go to a major university,” Brown said. “No one in my family has done that.”

History teacher and football coach Josh Line believes Brown is a good enough athlete to play in college. He has enjoyed coaching him the past three years.

“He is one of those guys you love coaching,” Line said.

Brown has played varsity football since he was a freshman. He was a captain last football season along with junior Bill Fields. According to Fields, who has known Brown for seven years, they became friends through football and other high school activities.

“He’s always happy and has energy,” Fields said.

Football coach and MHS history teacher Justin Ainsworth agrees.

“Alex is probably our best leader as far as getting people excited for football,” Ainsworth said. “He has tremendous energy and is one of our hardest workers.”

Brown’s passion for football shows through all of the extra time he puts in to it. He was awarded 2nd Team All-League Linebacker and Honorable Mention Tailback for the Midwestern League.

With all of Brown’s success on the field, few would believe the hardships he has overcome off the field.

“He has overcome a lot of adversity,” Line said. “He has faced a lot of challenges teenagers shouldn’t have to face.”

According to Brown, he has not seen his father since he was five years old. His father is currently serving a 30-year sentence in prison.

“He tries to call me, but I am really busy,” Brown said. “It puts me in the best mood when I get to hear from him though.”

His father still hopes to be part of his life. Brown keeps his father updated on his activities when they get a chance to talk. He plans on re-establishing his relationship with his father when he is released from prison.

“Growing up without him, I don’t want it to be like that anymore,” Brown said.

Brown’s parents divorced when he was five, according to his mother Melinda Brown.

“He took on the role of being the man of the house,” Melinda Brown said.

His mother has been in and out of his life as well, only attending three of his football games in the past season.

“Our relationship hasn’t been the easiest,” Melinda Brown said. “But he never gives up on me.”

Brown’s mother has recently moved back to Coos Bay from the Eugene area, where she attended rehabilitation for substance abuse the last six months.

“I saw a dramatic change,” Brown said. “I’m so proud she worked so hard to change for us.”

Brown and his three siblings, older sisters Erika Brown, Jessyka Valdovinos and younger brother Jayden Brown, are close due to their circumstances.

“With my situation I rely on my siblings,” Brown said.

Brown feels he has the strongest bond with Valdovinos.

“She knows everything about me,” Brown said. “No matter what is going on she is there for me.”

Brown frequently moves between houses which he sees as an obstacles he is constantly overcoming. He lived with an aunt between fifth and seventh grade, and then moved in with his mother from seventh grade to his sophomore year. Brown is now living with Valdovinos, who is 19 years old and works at Ocean Ridge Assisted Living as a medical aide.

“Alex has had an incredibly hard life,” Valdovinos said. “Yet, he is one of the strongest people I know and the only person that can turn someone’s worst day into their best.”

Brown’s brother Jayden is 12 and living with their grandparents. Jayden is one of Brown’s biggest motivations.

“I want to give him a good example,” Brown said.

Brown views sports injuries such as a broken ankle or concussion as outside distractions which add to the many things he has overcome.

Valdovinos agrees.

“He wants to prove to everyone that it doesn’t matter how hard life is, if you have a dream, you can achieve it,” Valdovinos said.

Brown also enjoys volunteering in his spare time. He has helped out with the South Coast Youth Football Camp over the past two summers. He is also active with Relay for Life.

“I like to give back to people,” Brown said.

Ainsworth believes Brown’s attitude has the greatest impact on people.

“What he does is more powerful than what he says,” Ainsworth said.

Line agrees.

“He was a good leader,” Line said. “I would love for my sons to grow up to be just like him.”