If you’ve been paying much attention to Victor Cruz the last two years, or read his book “Out of the Blue,” then you know how much his grandmother means to him. She’s been an inspiration to him since he was a child and, in some ways, the source of his now famous salsa dance.
Tonight, Cruz posted this message on Twitter:
“R.I.P to one of the strongest women I've ever met. I will forever cherish you and never forget what you've taught me Abuela. I love you.”
Here’s what Cruz wrote about his salsa dancing beginnings in his book:
“My abuela taught me the salsa at a very young age. I was a rambunctious little kid, always running around and causing trouble in our apartment on East Twentieth. One day, when I was about five years old, she sat me down and told me she was going to focus my energy into something fun. We did it all – the meringue, the bachata, and the samba. My favorite dance of all, though, was the salsa. She’d put her favorite Tito Puente vinyl record on the record player, and we’d dance for hours in the kitchen. Papi would smile and laugh, sipping on his black coffee in his rocking chair.”
He wrote that quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan suggested he do something special if he scored a touchdown against the Eagles during Hispanic Heritage Month, and he decided the dance would be that.
“It’d be a tribute to my grandmother and my Puerto Rican roots,” he wrote. “It’d also be pretty fun.”
After the game, he got his first reviews of the dance from the people most significant to him.
“I got a call from my mother that evening and she was excited to share some news. ‘Your abuela heard about your salsa dance from all of her friends. She loves it. She wants you to do it every single time!’”