Hugh might be the name that appears on the class roster, but it’s not the name I choose to go by. Hugh just doesn’t fit me, if I’m being honest, and I would hate for people to feel that I misrepresent myself to them.
But the truth about my name and my overall identity require a back story of a personal nature. Rewinding to another lifetime, July 8th, 1999, I was born Santiago Leon Benavides in the capital city of Colombia, Bogota. At this point in time, Colombia was still a third world country and know to as one of the most dangerous countries on the planet. My birth mom knew she would not be able to care for me. In the most selfless act a parent can make, she put me up for adoption, in hopes that I would be blessed with a better life than what she could provide.
As a young infant, being only two and a half months old, I was adopted out of Colombia by the only two Americans that were willing to risk their lives to give a child a better life. After being adopted, my legal name was changed to Hugh Davis Santiago Barlow. Now, 21 years later, the yellow, red, and blue wristband that I wear on my right wrist every second of every day, represents my acknowledgment of my former life and where I would be if I wasn’t blessed enough to be adopted by two American’s I now refer to as Mom and Dad.
Since the beginning of my childhood, I have lived and breathed sports, it’s just how I was raised. When I began my first sport, baseball, at the age of 2, I never knew that it would grow to be more than just a game in my life. Sure I tried other sports, but they just weren’t for me. As you can tell by the picture above, baseball was where my heart was – and still is. The game continued to be a factor in my life, teaching me life lessons that I never though a simple game with a ball and a glove could teach me. The course of my life would ultimately be altered by baseball and quietly led me to choose Piedmont College as my place to further my education as well as continue my career.