Ram handles hoops and horns

By Mickey Winfield Freedom newspapers

Portales senior Skyler Partin goes from blocking out defenders on the basketball court, to blowing on his baritone as a member of the Portales High School band.

The third of four siblings, music and athletics are in the Partin family genes.
He grew up hearing his brother, sister and mother tickling the ivory on the piano. Both his parents can sing as well.

He began playing the trumpet, entering band in the fifth grade before switching to the baritone last year.

His foray into sports began in a similar way.

“My big brother played, and so I wanted to play basketball,” Partin said.
He also said his parents stand behind him.

“(My parents) encourage me to stick with both. They know I like basketball better, but they encourage music too because I can do that a lot longer and when I’m a lot older.”

Ram basketball coach Mark Gallegos was quick to explain Skyler’s importance to the team.

“Skyler’s one of those kids that he loves the game and plays all the time,” Gallegos said. “He’s a gym rat, he’ll be up here on Sundays if I let him.”

The 6-foot shooting guard exhibited his importance to the team Tuesday night at Lovington, as Partin hit a clutch go-ahead layup with less than 10 seconds left, that turned out to be the game winner. The Rams prevailed against Lovington in Portales’ district opener 74-71.

“It was nice to see the other night, him hit that winning basket,” Gallegos said.
Occasionally, a conflict arises between his two hobbies. This season, Skyler missed the Portales Basketball Shootout, occupied instead at a state band recital.”

“It’s tough (when we don’t have him),” Gallegos said. “And I guess that’s a compliment to him in a way because we need him on the floor. He’s a senior and he knows what’s going on.”

“I hated having to miss those games,” Partin said.

Between three hours a day practicing basketball, and practicing his instrument regularly for band recitals, Skyler’s free time is scarce, but he prefers it that way.

“It just gives me something else to do if I’m bored,” Partin said. “It’s hard, but I’d probably make the same choices if I had to do it all again.”

What do participation in band and basketball have in common?

“The more you practice the better you get,” Partin said.