by D. Kenneth Ross
Have you ever had the enjoyment of seeing raw talent in a young person? Seeing that one special gift that he has been given that may be used, polished and developed? In Raw Talent, D. Kenneth Ross shares the story of such a gem—a young boy named Carlos who had been given the raw talent for playing golf.
Raw Talent opens as Carlos Alvarez awaits the start of his first Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Throughout the novel, golf enthusiasts will have the opportunity to read of this competition between he and another PGA professional who had been invited to play.
Carlos was only thirteen when he began visiting a local driving range to “bang a few balls just for fun.” There was also that “release” that came to set a ball down and “hauling off and smacking it as hard as he could.” (p. 2) Fortunately for Carlos, Pete Sanchez, owner of a driving range, watched as he spent time at his range and, when the opportunity arose, he offered Carlos a job to gather the balls there. And, of course, have the opportunity to use and develop his skills. Pete saw Carlos’ raw talent—and was wise enough to realize that his talent not only surpassed his own, but he had that “sparkle of joy and endless determination” that was so important to polish that talent.
Though big for his age, Carlos was very shy. But he was determined in one major area—to help his Mom and Grammy Cella and, if necessary, to get his Dad out of his family’s life. He had spent too many hours trying to find his father, who most times would be hanging out with his drunken friends, to beg for money for food and expenses before he would drink it away or use it for other pleasures. Both he and his mother found that being beat up was part of the price of living.
Carlos also spent some of his time at the gym. At school, it was his excuse for showing up bruised and battered. Mainly, though, he was getting pretty good at fighting and would some day be able to stop his dad... What he could not understand was why his mother was able to accept his dad’s abuse. His Grammy Celia, who loved her grandson very much, tried in all ways to support him and help him learn about his grandfather who had been a strong, God-fearing man. But all Carlos could think about was “when he could fight better, he’d make sure his dad would never hurt his mom or Grammy Celia again.” (p. 20)
As Carlos spent time on the job, Pete became more and more certain of his initial recognition of Carlos’ raw talent. He began to slowly make suggestions to him and to give him lessons. When Pete learned that his father had taken his son’s salary, it was then that his feelings started to be more personally involved. Even to the extent of working with Grammy Celia to have Carlos’ wages paid in check form rather than cash.
Grammy Celia died when Carlos was fourteen. The loss was traumatic for Carlos but it presented an even greater burden that he must do something to support his family. Pete had shared with Carlos that he had “hustled” some when he was younger and Carlos sought his training in how he could use his golfing talent to earn money. When Pete was hesitant to do this, primarily because he saw that Carlos’ was so talented that he could make money professionally, Carlos was not interested in waiting. Instead he turned to his boxing skills and when the opportunity arose to make money boxing, he took it!
The only problem was that he had to travel into Mexico to fight.
And on the same day he was scheduled to fight, the police found Carlos’ father—murdered!
And his father’s drinking partners claimed that they’d seen Carlos nearby that day.
Ross has created both a heartbreaking and heartwarming story that follows a young man’s life through a bad home environment, trouble with police and into the triumph of not only using his raw talent, but in gaining the protection and love of his personal mentor as well as a new family. Carlos’ story will capture the hearts of readers and keep them enthralled as Raw Talent culminates in a great win! You, too, will win reading the story of Carlos!
G. A. Bixler