Throwing has been a tradition in this athlete’s family for years, but the Bobcat has bigger dreams.
Roman Rodriguez, senior thrower, has been throwing ever since he could remember. His father, Gerald Rodriguez, coached the Bobcat and his three older brothers.
Roman Rodriguez said he was born into the sport. His dad started training him as soon as he was considered old enough.
“He would have a throws team over the summer and, when I was old enough, he made me a member of the team,” Roman Rodriguez said. “It was destined to happen because all of my other brothers threw. It was never forced. I wanted to be a part of our family name and went along with it. I wanted to be better than what people expected me to be.”
Roman Rodriguez competed in the Junior Olympics twice. The athlete said he remembers being nervous and not doing so well, but was glad to have some experience under his belt.
The experience helped the athlete improve in high school. The Bobcat had the No. 3 best throws in the nation when he was a senior. He was now faced with committing to track and field only.
Roman Rodriguez quit football his senior year because he wanted to commit to throwing. He wanted to improve and focus on becoming a collegiate thrower. Before track season, however, he sprained a ligament in his thumb and was not able to compete.
The stress of being recruited his senior year was getting to Roman Rodriguez.
“I thought I wasn’t going to be able to compete in college,” the senior said. “Colleges were asking me why I wasn’t competing, and I didn’t want to tell them that I was hurt. I threw less than my junior year in the shot put, and that was so disappointing for my senior year.”
Despite the injuries, Roman Rodriguez said everything happens for a reason. He was still able to land a scholarship here at Texas State, and has won multiple championships.
Track and field is an important part of his life, but it isn’t the only thing he loves.
The Bobcat is an upcoming hip-hop artist known as Rome. Roman Rodriguez’s journey began as soon as he picked up his brother’s guitar.
“I looked up to my brother, so after he played, I thought I could play too,” Rodriguez said. “I would always play on his guitar whenever he was at practice. I taught myself and got pretty good at it looking at people through YouTube. This was the start.”
When Roman Rodriguez was in high school, he was the singer in a band. They performed throughout his hometown of Houston, Texas. The athlete really loved what he was doing, but always knew it could never go any further once coming to Texas State.
“I wanted to pursue my music dream, along with trying to be eligible in track and do well in school,” Roman Rodriguez said. “I wanted to give it my all in music, but it was hard to do that—especially with track because it takes so much time.”
School and track took up most of the athlete’s time, but with determination he found a way to get his music out there for fans to hear.
His sophomore year, Roman Rodriguez began to take it a little more seriously. With the money he had, the thrower invested in a mic and mixing software for his laptop.
He released a mixtape called “The Fall of Rome,” and it took off. The thrower said he grew a huge fanbase on social media because of it.
Roman Rodriguez said 2015 was a huge year for him, as he was faced with the reality of possibly making a living through his passion.
“If I ever make millions one day, that’s OK, but I will never forget why I started doing this,” the senior said. “I want to inspire people to be better.”
The art behind the music is what moves Roman Rodriguez. He said hearing the percussion and the melody flow together as one gives him goosebumps. It is all in the power of music.
The Bobcat wants his music to impact others rather than impress.
“I have always liked writing,” Roman Rodriguez said. “Being able to write my thoughts, putting it into a song and having people say they can relate to them is what really inspires me. If I can make someone be a better person because of the music, then it is all worth it.”
Roman Rodriguez hopes fans will look deeper into the music, and really understand his message. He wants them to gain a sense of hope. He wants his fans to love, cherish and believe in themselves.
“As much as it might seem like this world is bad, at the end of the day we can still come together as one,” the senior said. “I want to show them the light in what seems to be a dark world. No matter what situation you’re in, you don’t have to be stuck there forever. You can get up and make something of yourself.”
Roman Rodriguez has performed all over Houston and San Marcos. He has also performed at SXSW on Sixth Street. His music has now gone worldwide and has fans in Amsterdam and in South Africa. The Bobcat said he counts his blessings, and has all the respect in the world for fans.
“I have received letters and emails from people all over the world,” Roman Rodriguez said. “It is incredible to see where the movement and my message has spread. It is really a blessing, and I want to thank them all and let them know that I truly appreciate them. I wouldn’t be here without them.”