Life for 17-year-old Quinton Embry is, in his own word, “alright.”
He lives in Compton with his mother and two young sisters. He is a senior at Dominguez High School with hopes of making it to the big leagues. He has his driver’s permit and desperately wants a car of his own. And, he considers himself to be the funny one of his group of friends.
So just what is the biggest challenge for this young, African American teenager living in Southern California? …staying faithful to his girlfriend, he says.
“I’m in a relationship right now and it’s hard because you have to be faithful to the one you have,” Embry begins to explain. “If you tell girls that you already have a girl, they still want to try to mess with you. It’s kind of hard here and there, but other than that it’s not that hard being a teenager.”
Actually, Embry says, it’s fun.
He says that while parents have to budget their money, save up, pay bills and taxes, and do all those adult things, teenagers get to go to parties and clubs.
But don’t think this young man is free of responsibilities.
Lately, Embry has been buckling down more in school for more reasons than one. He and his mother made a deal this past summer that if did well in school, he would get a car.
“I want a Mitsubishi Eclipse,” he says with a wide grin on his face,” but my mom said that I have to get As and Bs.”
Embry gave an even wider smile when he shared the other reason why he wants to do well in school.
“The reason I’m in school is because I’m trying to go up to the next level because baseball is my sport,” he says. “I’m just trying to move my game up to the next level… playing for college then try to move up to playing pro.”
Embry says he has been playing baseball since he was around seven years old when his mom first signed him up. And, ever since then he has loved the game.
“When I’m on that field, that’s all I have to think about,” says Embry, who regularly practices as a shortstop and second baseman at Compton’s Urban Youth Academy. “I only have to concentrate on being there and not have to think about all the outside drama.”
Some of what he considers “drama” is going home to a household of females, including his two pestering little sisters.
“All my little sisters want to do is annoy me,” he says.
But he doesn’t mind taking care of them if it means giving his mom a break.
“It’s rough living with a single mom,” says Embry whose father left when he was just a baby. “I can understand the pain she’s going through. She has to work, then come home and deal with me and my two little sisters. She has to cook, help them with their homework and go over my homework with me.
“So, I can understand that’s rough for her. Some days she just wants to come home and rest. I’m the only man of the house…so I try to help out cooking, cleaning and helping with my sisters to give her some time off.”
Embry doesn’t feel as if not having his father around has affected him. “It is what it is,” he says nonchalantly. “He came and went, and you just have to move on. You can’t go back in the past and think about it. You just got to move on.”
Embry only has his sights set on the future, when he will become a professional baseball player. And if that doesn’t work out, his backup plan(s) is to become a music producer, criminal justice lawyer, or a forensic scientist. But for now, life is pretty ok.
He concludes, “It’s not great, but I’m going to make it great.”