Throughout the years the athletic talent in this area occasionally spawns an individual so gifted they tend to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

While more recent examples of that excellence have been exhibited by people like Tyronne Lue, Dedrick Harrington and Jason Brookins, there were also several ballers from the Gary Filbert era who found their way onto some of the biggest stages imaginable.

For example, the year was 1970 when Mexico high school grad Clovis Swinney played in 14 games on the defensive line for the New Orleans Saints. While the former Bulldog didn't start any of those contests, nor did he make a single tackle or interception according to www.pro-football-reference.com, he did recover a fumble. The next season, 1971, Swinney played four games for the New York Jets, starting one and recovering another fumble.

Fellow Bulldog product Howard Kindig, on the other hand, was able to parlay his time at Los Angeles State University into a National Football League career from 1965-74. At the beginning of this journey Kindig played 28 games in two years with the San Diego Chargers and made one interception.

The next season, 1967, Kindig split his time playing left defensive end for the Buffalo Bills for five games and making one interception. He then returned to New York for the final seven games of the year and recovered a fumble. When he then went back to Buffalo in 1968 and played in 14 games and didn't have any stats, that's probably why this was his final season on the defensive line.

The rest of Kindig's career was spent playing left tackle, including 12 games for the Bills in 1969 and 10 games in 1970, all of which in the latter campaign were starts. After one more 14-game season for Buffalo in 1971, the Mexico native took his #54 jersey to the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins and once again made 14 appearances. Even though he didn't play in 1973, Kindig was willing to change his jersey number to 59 so he could come back in 1974 and get in on eight games for the Jets.

The final saga in this trilogy of professional athletes born and raised in Mexico is former Major League Baseball player Dick Thoenen. Standing in at 6-foot-6, 215 lbs. according to www.baseball-reference.com, Thoenen was a right handed pitcher who played for Gene Mauch with the the Philadelphia Phillies in 1967. His time with the team was short lived, though, allowing one earned run on two hits and no walks in one inning pitched. That season Philadelphia had a record of 80-82.

Even though none of these guys won a world title or is heading to any kind of hall of fame, they all got to live a reality that, for most of us, is little more than a dream. A happy fantasy that'll never actually happened. These players set goals for themselves then did what it took to reach them, and while some succeeded for longer than others, these individuals are incredibly real examples of how athletics, at their best, are about turning kids into adults by way of the lessons learned during competition.