Meet Your Neighbor: Rinzin Khando

Before I started attending the QCH All Starz afterschool program at Halsey, JHS 157, I had never played soccer a day in my life. A few months after I started the program, I realized I loved to play and was getting really good at it.

I feel exhilarated when I play soccer. Whether we win or lose the game, I’m always excited to be out on the field. I have lots of friends on the team, too. One of my teammates is Tibetan, like me, and I never would have met her if not for the All Starz program.

My parents are both Tibetan, and they have been very supportive of my interest in athletics. My dad picks me up every day after All Starz and takes me to practice in the park. When he was a monk living in India, he played soccer all the time. I feel like we are connecting when we play.

If I were to describe Tibetan culture in three words, the first would be momo. My mom makes momos every Friday night for our family. Momo is a type of delicious steamed dumpling. It is a family tradition that will always stick with me.

There’s also Temple. Our family goes to Temple together all the time. We exchange traditional scarves with monks who offer us blessings for health, education and sports. There’s a blessing for everything in life.

Then, there are the prayers. My dad takes time to pray every morning. And he never prays about himself. He always prays about our family. He’ll pray for me to do well on my math test or to win the soccer game that day. Both my parents are very selfless in that way. They have taught me to have an open mind, a respect for all cultures and a gratitude for family, health and of course, soccer.

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