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Anthony Alexander, a native of La Puente, Calif., has been playing football since the age of 5 and was raised by his mother and aunt, both of whom have played a huge role throughout his life.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Julio McGraw

What I've Learned: Anthony Alexander

5 Nov 2014 | Lance Cpl. Julio McGraw Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Interesting fact: Anthony Alexander has been playing football since the age of 5 and was raised by his mother and aunt, both of whom have played a huge role throughout his life.

Lance Cpl. Anthony Alexander, Admin, inbound section, IPAC

Age: 21

Hometown: La Puente, California

-I like to play football, sing, and write poetry.

-John Legend and Bruno Mars are my favorite singers.

-When I was little, I used to read a lot of my aunt’s books. I didn’t understand them, but I still tried to read them.

-Mia Angelo is a poet I’ve been interested with lately so I’m trying to learn as much as I can about her.

-My aunt raised me while my mother worked two jobs as a single parent, she also taught me the basics of poetry and the format of writing.

-I learned how to sing in church. We did a lot of singing, and I believe that as long as you have a cheerful sound, God will hear it.

-I started at around five or six years old with flag football and when I got older, I joined the tackle league at around seven years old.

-I loved it from the start. I wanted to play soccer but my aunt told me I had to play a man’s sport, so I chose football.

-I love that you can hit someone as hard as possible and not get in trouble no matter how hard you hit them.

-I also enjoyed the competitive nature of the sport and the want to be better than the other person.

-I played in middle school, high school and a little bit in college at Mount San Antonio College. I made the practice squad. I played in 2012 for the Headquarters Battalion team and a semi-professional team in Yucca Valley, Calif.

-My main positions were running back, strong safety and various positions on special teams. I try to get a few jersey numbers every season; 3, 21, 32, and 5.

-I got the nickname Superman in high school because when I went to tackle people I used to throw my entire body and it looked like I was flying so my teammates started calling me Superman. Now I try to get the number 5 because it looks like the ‘S’ on Superman’s chest.

-Football helped me prepare for the Marine Corps because you develop a sense of discipline and team work. In both things you have to work together toward a common goal like winning the game. The Marine Corps keeping the country safe is basically winning the game, so both are really similar.

-Football has always been there for me. Growing up, I was always really timid and football gave me the courage and confidence to do more than what was expected of me.

-I had some anger in me as well, so I used football to release it. It would make my day a lot better so much so that I felt like I could accomplish anything.

-My favorite game was the first game my grandfather saw me play; he was always in the hospital. It was the game I got hurt, but it was a blast seeing him watch me and get to see me play. He passed away later that year and him being there supporting me made me feel good and I will always remember that.

-My aunt raised me with the mentality of throwing me into the pool and telling me to swim and learn; now I appreciate it but back then I didn’t. I was like a ‘tail’ to my aunt; everywhere she went, I was right there behind her.

-My mother is a big factor. She is always by my side no matter what and I have a lot of respect for my mom doing what she did as a single parent, like having two jobs, to raise me.

-I joined the Marine Corps for my mom and people like her to show them that single parents can raise some one as successful as me.

-After this season, I like playing defense. Giving hits is a lot better than getting hit, but I like playing the ball both ways.

-My favorite players are Reggie Bush, Drew Brees and my friend Keith Smith, I played against him in high school and one day he just blew up and now he plays for the Dallas Cowboys.

-There have been a lot of Marines in my family; uncles, aunts, great grandparents; I thought it was right to continue the legacy in my family.

-I feel confident in my job, I love being able to help people, especially through administration with things that they didn’t know.

-I want to go back to college and study my general education and also keep playing football in college.

-I’m never going to quit playing, it keeps me motivated and keeps me grounded, letting me know that I can do anything.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms