Sports

November 26, 2013

For the love of the game

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Senior Airman Sivan Veazie 
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 
(U.S. Air Force photos by Senior Airman Sivan Veazie)
James Barnes, mechanic, poses for a photo at Davis-Monthan. Being a military child, Barnes has been playing basketball all over the world since he was eight years old. But after suffering an injury in high school, Barnes began working on cars.

“At one point in my life, the act of dribbling a ball meant everything to me,” said the 32 year old.

James Barnes, mechanic, was born in 1981 in a small town just outside of Oklahoma City. His parents, retired Master Sgt. Mike and Judy Barnes had three kids; two girls and a boy.

Growing up in an Air Force family, Barnes’s life was harder than the average kid. Overtime he found it was difficult to keep friends because he knew in a couple of years he would be leaving them. Barnes never really cared about anything but his family. From the moment he could walk Barnes bonded with his father by working in the garage. When he turned eight and he discovered a little orange ball.

“When I picked up that basketball that’s when I could relax and just be myself,” said the Oklahoma native. “I knew then that I was in love with the game of basketball!”

Since that day, Barnes has been all over the world and played basketball at four different primary schools. During a regional championship game in his junior year, Barnes broke both of his ankles, which detoured his dream of playing on a collegiate or pro-level.

Barnes cleans oil off of a 1970 Ford F-150 pickup truck after changing the oil at the auto hobby shop. While working in the auto hobby shop here, Barnes helps customers by finding the right tools, guiding them through certain jobs, changing oil, rotating tires, welding mufflers and all while working to become more proficient at their job.

“When I got injured in high school, all I could think about is that my dream is over,” he said.

After recovering from his injuries, Barnes ignited his dormant passion for working on cars.

Barnes now works as a full-time mechanic at the Davis-Monthan’s Auto Hobby Shop. He helps customers in a variety of ways from guiding to assisting them in repairing their vehicles, while still working to become more proficient at his job. Even though Barnes couldn’t pursue his basketball career, it hasn’t stopped him from playing.

As far as everyone knows during the day, Barnes is just a regular guy trying to make ends meet. But come nightfall, he takes off that uniform and replaces it with another one; a D-M basketball jersey.

Barnes has been a member of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base basketball team for 13 years and has helped them win numerous tournaments.




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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