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Finding an outlet

Sports changed Bino Horne from a hot-headed kid to a responsible teen

Posted: January 22, 2009 10:01 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Golden Valley's Bino Horne was born in the rough neighborhoods of East L.A. but has bettered himself through athletics.

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His mother was sick of the fighting. Even if he was just evening the score by bloodying a bully in the fifth grade, Bino Horne had to do something more productive.

“We’re like family,” Horne says, though. “If someone messes with one of my family members, I’m going to get involved.”

Horne’s family includes his mother and four sisters.

He grew up in East Los Angeles — a neighborhood with a reputation for the rough-and-tumble.

His father left the family to fend for themselves, and his mother decided that her children shouldn’t grow up amid such rough surroundings.

Horne moved to Canyon Country when he was 3 years old, but the gruff nature of East L.A. came with him.

“When I was little, I always got in fights,” Horne says. “My mom told me I had to have something good, to change my character and not be such a little rough-rouser all the time.”

That ‘something’ turned out to be sports.

Horne didn’t start playing soccer until he was 12 years old, but as soon as he did, he flashed a natural talent for the game. He’s now a senior co-captain of Golden Valley High School’s varsity soccer squad, and he also played football and runs track.

Horne is on schedule to graduate with 12 total letters between the three sports, but accolades aren’t what drives him on the field.

“He’s always trying to improve,” says his twin sister Katherine. “Sports help him improve a little bit.”

Whether he’s patrolling the field as a central defender for the soccer team, darting up and down the gridiron as a wide receiver and defensive back, or burning the track as middle distance runner, sports have helped Horne calm down and become a better person.

“It happened in stages,” he says. “Every year, I learned something new about myself. My temper went down and got a little better. Every sport has taught me something.”

Responsibility might be the most important lesson he’s learned.

Because his father left, Horne has been the man of the house for his entire life. Horne has since found out that his father died in 1997, and his absence has driven Horne to become a better man and role model.

“I always wanted to see him,” Horne says. “It did make a big impact that I never got to see him.”

Horne’s impact on both his family and his teammates is palpable.

“He was on my frosh/soph team,” says Golden Valley head soccer coach Phil Lopez. “It was quite obvious at that time that he was going to move up to varsity as a sophomore.”

As Horne’s coach and an art teacher at Golden Valley, Lopez has seen first-hand how sports have helped improve Horne’s life.

“He’s not the biggest guy, but he plays with all the heart in the world,” Lopez says. “He kind of sets the bar for everyone else to follow, and I think that’s why coaches have really enjoyed him as both a player and a student.”

Setting the bar is nothing new for Horne. He does it for his family every day.

“I’m the only guy in my family,” Horne says. “It’s a big responsibility, especially when I’m the youngest one.”

His coaches have similar responsibilities to their players, and although playing three sports presents a greater risk of injury, Lopez says it’s wrong to deny him his passion.

“You’ve got to go with your heart and let him enjoy what he enjoys,” Lopez says.

What Horne is enjoying now is a life he wouldn’t have been able to enjoy without sports.

Sports have taught him responsibility and brought him a sense of maturity rarely seen in kids his age.

“I’m happy, because it makes me a better person,” Horne says. “It makes me communicate with people, and I just love being a part of a team. It’s like having a second family.”

His actual family appreciates those values.

“He really is (loyal),” Katherine says. “A lot of people at school love him for that. Although we get into arguments and fights, I love him.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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