Jonathan “Tuna” Rivera grew up playing wall ball at 85th street Park in Jackson Heights Queens New York. Although only 21 years of age, Tuna possesses a maturity and self-motivated attitude that has given him a 2nd chance at a new life; one that he never thought possible by staying off the streets and on the court.
Tuna got his start in the sport by watching New York ballers “Killer” Chris, Kenny and Herman Mendez at the courts down the block from his house. He was always athletic and into sports, however he developed a strong passion for the sport of wall ball the moment he smacked his first ball. “I played soccer and baseball…imagine that, a Colombian playing baseball! But I prefer wall ball (handball) over everything. It helped me to relieve my anger and stress while living in Queens. I was always in trouble and it seems when living in NY trouble revolves around you. In fact, at 18 my jaw was shattered and I ended up in the hospital for days. Today my jaw is made of metal. Literally. I tried hard to stay away from problems but the stress of bills and other factors had me in a dark place. Balling was one way I could focus on me.
Fast forward to today and Tuna has a completely different attitude about life. “I want people to know that now I’m all about positivity and great energy. It’s never too late to get motivated and take care of yourself and pick yourself up off the ground.” Jonathan now eats a clean diet of organic food and has a daily gym regimen. He also found a few courts in his new home of 8 months at HCC, Brandon Park and Spring Hill Tampa Florida. According to the Tampa locals he motivates everyone to unite, play together and want to get better. “I feel like my motivation is contagious and I feel proud to now represent North Florida.”
Congratulations to our new Player of the Week – Jonathan “Tuna” Rivera
*Fun facts – Jonathan’s favorite player in Florida is Lefty Kevin and his wall ball idol is Tavo from New York because “both guys work hard and are very respectful. They have great attitudes.”