You Can’t Stop Her Now

Everybody Has a Story

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Donated by: Marko Barrera

Marko Barrera, STAFF WRITER

  The ball flies up and lands right where the hitter needs the ball to be, at the peak of her jump and as high as she can reach. Fans of the home team continue their booing, as Charter holds possession. She jumps in the air, similar to an eagle taking flight, and spikes the ball with all her might. The opponent blockers jump to try and prevent a point being scored, but it’s no use as the ball hits the floor at lightning speed. Nathalie Portillo isn’t a stranger to pressure, as it has been on her back for most of her life.

  Nathalie was born and raised right here in Pembroke Pines in a two-parent household. She attended Silver Palms Elementary for kindergarten up until the beginning of 5th grade. As Nathalie began her fourth grade year, her and her family were forced to move out of their house in Towngate because it was too far from her father’s job. Moreover, at the start of the second quarter the next year, she was hit with spontaneous news from her mom that she would be transferring to PPCES FSU campus. All of these sudden changes hit her hard, and it was difficult to cope with at first. Although, as time went on and more changes happened in her life, Nathalie knew she had to adapt. 

 

  As she was growing up, sports were another thing that would come and go. At age 5, she got into ballet and jazz dance. Both of these interested her, but she moved on quite fast. 2 years later, she tried karate and did that for another 2 years. She wasn’t finished dipping her toes in different hobbies, as she spent a year trying both soccer and basketball. As you can tell, the idea of change was becoming less of a burden to her.

 

  After all those years of not being able to find a sport that was comfortable enough, Nathalie spent two years taking a break from sports, until finally finding that volleyball was the one, from a 10-week camp that her friend had told her to attend. 

 

  From then on, things started to look up, but not for too long. She was finding more friends at school, and was getting better at volleyball. That was until her second year playing when her parents unofficially got divorced. Nathalie realized this when her mom one day took her and they moved out of the house. At first, she was content about it. “Their relationship was really toxic,” she said, “So it felt good seeing my mom not getting in a fight anymore.” However, time went on and the reality of living without a dad started to hit. Things like filling out paperwork that he used to fill out, for example. It was as if her workload got bigger, and she had to start acting like a parent. Since pressure and change wasn’t something new at this point, Nathalie took this responsibility up and got used to it.

 

  With the upcoming volleyball season getting closer, life is still better than before for Nathalie, even with COVID-19. She is excited, yet nervous, for how it could turn out. “It should be an entirely different feeling,” she stated, “Especially having no fans and having to wear masks during practice.” She is still ready for the season and the challenges that it brings.

 

  After going through a lot in her life, Nathalie was able to work with the cards she was dealt, and she learned not to dread so much over the past. Her hopeful spirit and powerful confidence keeps her going, and nothing can stop her now.