The Americanization of Satsay

From refugee camp to gridiron in one hectic decade

"I'm not going to say we'll win the state title this year," says Greenway's Gregg Parrish, "but with Satsay in there doing his thing, we have the potential to go a long, long way."

THE SINGPRADITH HOUSEHOLD is always on the move. Just about the only time they're all together is for family meetings. The rest of the time, the kids zip in and out of the house, and mom and pop work long hours.

On one rare occasion, Satsay and brothers Prasong and Ott are sitting at home, watching Oprah Winfrey talk turkey with confessed rapists. Prasong turns down the volume so younger brother Satsay can speak about the future.

"I like history, things about people, religions, and other stuff," Satsay says. "I know I should like math because I'm Oriental, but I don't. I also like sports medicine a lot."

Satsay, a solid B student, doesn't know what next year will bring. His brothers want him to attend Northern Arizona University and try out for the football team as a kicker.

The only thing Satsay is sure about is that he doesn't want to stand for something--you know, the "first" Laotian field goal kicker and all that. He just wants to be something.

"I'm not this kid from a foreign country anymore," he says. "I'm just this kid trying to figure out what to do. It'll be weird if I don't play ball. It's all I've been doing for a long time. Then there's my dad. He doesn't like me to go too far away. He doesn't want me to go to another state. He's pretty easygoing, but he's very conservative, and he gets worried about us."

This summer, Satsay made four dollars an hour packing candles at a westside factory. He spent most of his earnings on clothes, but he also gave his mom $100 for her two-month trip back to Thailand--her first visit since the Singpradiths emigrated.

"My family is like a football team," Satsay Singpradith says. "You work together, you get somewhere in life.

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