Name: Roderick Kanuho
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Wrestling, literary fiction, poetry, driving, mixed martial arts, swimming, cooking, traditional Navajo culture, biology, medicine
Appearance: Roderick stands at 59, and has a non-competition weight of 212 pounds, cutting to 195 during the wrestling season and 205 when preparing for an MMA fight. While he does have some body fat, most of his weight is muscle. His back is straight and firm, and his upper body has an inverted triangle shape; he has wide, sturdy shoulders and a broad chest, which taper down to a narrow waist and defined core muscles. His limbs have a great deal of muscle tone. Roderick is full-blooded Navajo, and his skin is a warm brown with hints of red. Roderick tends to look a little larger than he is because he has notably good posture, standing ramrod straight and holding his head high, although since his recent recovery from an injury to his right ankle he can be seen mildly favouring that leg.
Roderick has a smooth face, with high cheekbones, a strong jawline, a straight nose and lips that are a little on the full side. His eyes are almond-shaped and a very dark brown in colour, and his eyebrows have a bit of a downwards slant, as if he is scowling. This results in a resting expression that resembles an intense stare. He has long, flowing black hair which reaches almost to his shoulders if left alone, though he often wears it tied up in a traditional bun. During the off-season Rod will occasionally walk around with his hair loose, but once the season starts he always ties his hair back so as not to get in the way of his headgear. He takes care to regularly wash, maintain and condition his hair, but refuses to cut it.
With clothes, he likes to wear light or neutral colours such as whites and light greys to balance out his features and skin tone, but can also gravitate to black, blue, yellow, red and gold, the latter two mainly because they are the school colours. One of his most prized items of clothing is his Cochise Coyotes letterman jacket. Although his clothing choices are usually rather casual, he takes care to make sure everything he wears is ironed and properly cleaned. He prefers tighter-fitting clothes, and will usually go for white or grey t-shirts with jeans, shorts or sweatpants, usually wearing nice sneakers along with them. When its colder out, hell throw on a hoodie or a warm jacket. He can sharpen up easily enough, however, and when he feels like looking nice but doesnt need to dress formally he likes to break out polos, khakis or slacks, and smart black shoes. Roderick can also occasionally be seen wearing a silver-and-turquoise ring, on his right hand.
During the trip, Roderick was wearing his letterman jacket, a white t-shirt underneath it, blue jeans, a black belt, white socks, black sneakers, and his ring.
Biography: Vernon and Danielle Kanuho, an attorney and a civil engineer respectively, were visiting friends in Los Angeles when Danielle went into labour and was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Early the next morning, before dawn, Roderick was born, and after his mother spent a couple days in hospital to recover, he was brought home to Kingman. Although his father started his legal career working for the Mohave County public defenders office, several years before Roderick was born, Vernon decided he would have to do more, not only to provide for his family but to be more effective in using his legal skills to help people. Because of this, he started a law firm in his hometown of Kingman, Arizona, calling upon Caleb Goldtooth and Irwin Meyer, friends and former classmates of his from Stanford Law School, to help set everything up. Meyer, Goldtooth and Kanuho has since grown into a successful law firm with offices in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Highland Beach, and LA, but Vernon has chosen to keep its main headquarters in Kingman for personal reasons, as well as practical ones. Not only was land cheaper in Kingman, but the whole reason Vernon returned to Kingman from Stanford was to use his legal training to help the people there, as well as in the nearby Navajo Nation, and he refused to abandon them. When he and Danielle decided to start a family, they also wanted to be close to the Navajo community, so their future child wouldnt be isolated from their native culture.
The Kanuhos made more than enough money, between Vernons firm and Danielles work with the county government, to reside comfortably on the upper end of middle class and make sure Roderick had a childhood where he never wanted for anything, despite profits for MGK suffering slightly due to Vernons insistence on doing a notably high amount of pro bono work. He has always been close to both of his parents, and they have also made sure he was raised to be close to his heritage - whenever either parent has visited the Navajo Nation, theyve brought Roderick along, and they ensured he learned to appreciate the culture he comes from. His parents also speak both English and Navajo at home, which has led to him becoming fluent in both languages. Even today, Roderick enjoys visiting the reservation, taking part in ceremonies, and participating in Navajo culture.
Roderick had always been an energetic, passionate child, and as his early childhood went on, it led to him being very open and expressive with his emotions - he would rarely hold back on what he was feeling, and with the passage of time it would lead to him manifesting a fiery temper. Even as a child, he had noticed the differences between quality of life on and off the reservation, which he considered deeply unfair, but he would also express his displeasure very openly whenever upset by something in general, leading to him having little apparent middle ground between being calm and furious. In one incident, during recess in grade school, he took offence to a game of Cowboys and Indians other children had dragged him into; when one child teased him over it, Roderick punched him in the face. Nobody was seriously injured in the resulting scuffle and it had been Rodericks first offence, so in the parent-teacher conference afterwards Vernon promised to talk to his son about it and no further action was deemed required. Reflecting on this incident later in life, Roderick would feel as if he would not have gotten off so lightly if his father were not a prominent figure in the local community.
Searching for a way to rein in his sons temper, Vernon remembered how he put himself through school with his wrestling skills, and ended up introducing Roderick to the sport through an after-school program. It was his hope that wrestlings physically demanding nature would help use up some of Rodericks excess energy, and that the hard work involved would teach him discipline and control, as well as helping him make friends. The first couple practises were difficult, but it wasnt long before Roderick fell in love with the sport, due to the hard work and the feeling of improving every time he went, as long as he tried hard enough. His increasing interest in wrestling directly coincided with fewer incidents of him losing his temper at school or at home; when he did express his anger, he was less likely to do so with his fists instead of his words. Vernon had told him that he could only keep wrestling so long as he avoided causing trouble and kept his grades up, and Roderick believed him. He would take the work ethic wrestling was starting to instill in him and apply it to everything else he did, developing over time into a very hard working person who put all of himself into whatever he happened to be doing.
Wrestling also led to him developing a closer relationship with his parents, especially his father, seeing himself as following in Vernons footsteps; the older Kanuho would often tell him stories of his own schooldays and his own time as a wrestler, more than willing to give his son advice and inspiration. Vernon, a very well-read individual, was also the one to give Roderick his love of reading; Vernon taught him to read when he was a young child, which would lead to Roderick developing a taste for poetry and literary fiction, though he also likes non-fictional works about history and philosophy. Roderick sees writing things down, and the act of telling stories, as an essential part of the human condition, and thinks its beautiful what someone can do with the written word when they develop that skill.
On Danielles part, she was happy to support Roderick in his hobbies however she could, giving moral support and pep talks whenever his morale was low, and making sure to spend plenty of time around him, happy to see something that engaged Rodericks interest as thoroughly as wrestling did. She also taught Roderick how to cook and eat right, and her initial lessons would lead to him developing a keen interest in cooking. Over time, he grew to prefer eating food he prepared himself over food made by someone else, since he always had control over what exactly he was consuming. He also enjoyed the focus, precision and attention to detail that went into good cooking, viewing it as meditative. This led to them becoming quite close, especially since traditional Navajo culture is matriarchal; observing this dynamic with extended family on the reservation taught Roderick to view his mother as head of the household despite Vernons status as primary breadwinner, although he does love and respect both of his parents. With Vernon often busier than Danielle due to having a law firm to run, Danielle was the one who taught Roderick most of what he knows of his heritage and Navajo culture, as well as how to swim, which she saw as an essential skill; once he got past his initial nervousness, Roderick took to the water happily, and even today enjoys swimming, both as exercise and a fun activity, especially in the heat of Arizona summers.
Going through school, Roderick was popular among those who werent offended or scared off by his intense demeanour and somewhat fiery temper, although many of his closer friends were other children in the after school wrestling program, as his focus on the sport did not always allow him to make much of an effort to get to know people outside of it. Among the most notable of these friends is Clarice Halwood, who he met at a young age and has been very close with ever since, bonding over their shared heritage and love for wrestling. Those who managed to get past his initial impressions found him to be friendly enough, and devoted to the friends he made, but occasionally humourless and unwilling to put up with nonsense or what he perceived as injustice; if he thought something someone was doing was wrong, he called them out immediately. This also caused him to despise bullies, and if he saw any bullying going on he would generally step in and tell the people responsible to back off before he made them stop; these confrontations, although they rarely got physical, gave him a reputation as someone who would not hesitate to stand up for what he considered to be the right thing, nor to condemn those who acted in ways he thought were unacceptable. Although nice enough to those he got along with, Roderick could be somewhat unforgiving, to the point of abruptly refusing to associate with classmates who had offended him, leading to him having a reputation for being overly quick to burn bridges; part of this was due to an earnest doubt that people could change, but mostly down to wanting to avoid interacting with people who made him angry or stressed him out.
Through middle school and the beginning of high school, more students and people in Kingman would know of Roderick than actually know him personally, between his family name, growing reputation, and the fact he simply wasnt a terribly outgoing person. Roderick preferred the company of a smaller group of close friends over going out of his way to maintain a huge social circle, and didnt see many of the people he met in Kingman as being particularly worth the effort. To him, the people of Kingman have always seemed small-minded, ignorant, extremely conservative, and unambitious, while the town itself bores him, with little or nothing that catches his interest. As someone who has been pushed to shoot for the moon his entire life, Roderick has a hard time getting along with unambitious people in general, as not only can he not resist the urge to push them to aim for more than they have, but he is afraid of ending up complacent himself. Spending his entire life in Kingman is a proposition he considers horrifying, and part of his intense focus on his athletics and schoolwork, beyond enjoyment of those subjects, has been due to wishing to earn a way out of the town. Once hes moved out of Kingman, he does not plan to return.
Consequently, one of his most treasured memories is when he received a vehicle of his own, a 2013 Dodge Challenger, for his sixteenth birthday, and shortly afterwards earned his drivers licence. Once he had his own car, not only could he leave Kingman whenever he wanted, but he quickly grew to enjoy driving just for its own sake, especially since Kingman is surrounded by long roads and stretches of highway. Being able to just hop into his car and drive wherever he likes, his focus entirely on the road before him and his eventual destination, is something he still considers extremely relaxing. Its not unheard of for Roderick to go off on road trips to the Navajo Nation, Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles when time allows for it, either by himself or with friends.
Beyond getting a car, sophomore year was in general a year of fairly significant change for Roderick. His constant focus on his training had started to turn him into a proficient wrestler, and that season he made it into the Arizona state wrestling championship tournament. Although he did not win that year, he did well enough to place, and that he made it to the tournament at all meant he returned to Kingman to find his name much more prominent in the town. Roderick found himself receiving attention from local media, such as the Kingman Daily Miner and television news stations that served the area, and was also much more well-known in Cochise and the other Kingman high schools in the aftermath of his tournament appearance. Hardly unknown beforehand, his successful season resulted in him breaking into the upper levels of Cochises social hierarchy; compared to earlier in high school and middle school, he found more students going out of their way to try to befriend him, and he was invited to parties and social gatherings much more often than he had been before. Roderick had mixed feelings about his sudden popularity, as while he appreciated the acknowledgement of his accomplishments, as well as people making more of an effort to include and befriend him, he also didnt feel entirely comfortable suddenly being the centre of attention from so many, and couldnt help but feel as if people were more drawn to his success in wrestling than who he was as a person. Due to his drive to move on from Kingman, as well as his focus on his training, he sees most of the relationships formed in high school as temporary, so this did not bother him quite as much as it might otherwise have, but it was still something that got to him.
Sophomore year would also be when he became acquainted with Travis Lynch, and develop an interest in mixed martial arts. Travis, looking for assistance improving his grappling skills, had come to an open mat held by the wrestling team after the season, and asked for a wrestler to work with him. Roderick took him up on it, and that initial session led to Roderick making trips up to the Kingman Combat Club to continue training with Travis. Training together led Roderick and Travis to become good friends, and also resulted in Roderick picking up Travis interest in MMA for himself. Roderick began training in MMA himself not long after meeting Travis, and had his first amateur fight before the end of the school year. Although he lost by a close split decision, due to his opponents superior striking skills, he wasnt deterred, training harder to fix his weaknesses, picking up boxing to be able to fight better on his feet and also learning catch wrestling from one of the coaches so he would have submissions in his arsenal. He has not lost a fight since, and his record has improved to 3-1, with a knockout and submission to his name. Although he is primarily focussed on wrestling, he enjoys MMA for similar reasons to his primary sport, namely its physically demanding nature, the discipline it requires, and how competition between two skilled practitioners resembles something akin to a human chess match.
Junior year was similar to sophomore year, as Roderick tried not to let his popularity get to him, instead focussing on training even harder than he had before. While this made it difficult to maintain some of his new friendships, as he didnt pay as much attention to socialisation as to sports and maintaining a high enough GPA to stay on the team, it paid off for his wrestling career, as he had an undefeated season which led him back to the state tournament. This time, he won. Appearing in the state tournament two seasons in a row, and coming home victorious from his second attempt, magnified the social consequences he experienced the previous year. Cochises wrestling program is the only one among the Kingman high schools to have won a state championship, and Roderick coming within reach of a title once, then trying again and winning, has led to him being seen in some circles as something of a local sports hero. Roderick remained dubious about his growing social status in his hometown, but chose to accept it rather than waste energy fighting against it, so long as it did not interfere with his day to day life. He accepted invitations he received to parties and local media events, agreed to sit down for interviews if he had time, and on a couple occasions appeared in commercials for local businesses, but tried not to let it get to his head, both to avoid getting an ego and because he was not completely comfortable with all the attention. He felt as if he were living under a microscope, and he didnt enjoy feeling so scrutinised.
Going into senior year, Roderick felt burdened by the expectations that had built up through his high school career. Not only did he have to keep his grades high for his place on the team and college prospects, but he had the new season to worry about, MMA training, and keeping up commitments to his growing social circle. On top of this, he still received some media attention from the previous year, especially as the wrestling season approached and people expected another dominant performance from him, and while Roderick normally didnt mind the pressure being on, the additional scrutiny made him dislike how many eyes seemed to be on him. He made no bid for the role of team captain when an opportunity arose, instead backing the claims of his friends, Clarice Halwood and Tyler Yazzie, in part due to not being interested in a leadership role and in part to avoid forcing himself any further into the spotlight than he already was.
In the beginning, Rodericks senior year looked as if it would live up to these expectations. He started strong academically, managed to uphold most of his social obligations, and started as a formidable presence on the wrestling mat, never losing a match. However, in January, while warming up for a practise, the team was doing stair climbing, a cardiovascular exercise where the wrestlers all ran up and down a flight of stairs, taking advantage of the incline to build both strength and stamina. During this exercise, Roderick stepped wrong and tripped over another wrestler. He was able to recover quickly enough to catch himself and his teammate, ensuring neither took a serious injury, but landed badly, and sprained his right ankle. Although only a moderate sprain, and certainly not the worst possible injury that could have happened, the recovery time - six to eight weeks - ensured he would miss the rest of the season.
In the immediate aftermath of his injury, Roderick became bitter and withdrawn, feeling as if he had let everyone down but also simply devastated by one moment of misfortune preventing him from finishing his high school wrestling career. As wrestling served as a pressure release valve to him, something that vented restlessness and any negative feelings that built up throughout his day-to-day, being unable to wrestle caused those feelings to build up inside him and led to a great deal of stress. At first, he coped by going to practises and meets to support the team, but eventually that simply made him angry that he could not participate, and so he stopped going, although he kept in contact with his teammates. Roderick spent the first period of his recovery keeping more or less to himself, maintaining his closer relationships but mostly dwelling on his thoughts and throwing himself into his studies in order to distract himself. However, with the help of family and friends, he was able to find healthy outlets for any anger and negativity he felt, throwing himself into his studies and repairing relationships he had neglected due to his constant focus on his training. He also found his interest in literature to be an important outlet during this time; not only did he have more time to read and relax, but he ended up putting more thought into creative ventures of his own as a way to pass the time. He has not completed any major projects, but has started outlining some ideas for books and short stories, tried his hand at writing a couple poems, and is considering undertaking a project in which he translates the works of Shakespeare into the Navajo language.
Eventually, Rodericks ankle recovered, and although it is still a bit tender he has regained full mobility as of present. While he remains disappointed that he was unable to complete his final season of high school wrestling, he has resolved not to let himself get too bitter about it, and to have a strong finish to his senior year. He looks back on his accomplishments in Cochise with pride and tries to be content with what he has done, and to focus on his goals for the future, as the injury will not prevent him from wrestling in college.
Academically, Roderick maintains a 3.5 GPA, which is likely to improve by the end of senior year due to his increased focus on his studies post-injury. Among his strongest subjects are English, history, physical education, and biology, which is one of his favourite subjects. Roderick is fascinated by the workings of life and the human body, and how something as complex as a human life can come about from simple chemical reactions and clusters of cells. Despite performing well in it, he does not enjoy his history classes, as he finds them too US-centric and is uncomfortable going over American history, considering the atrocities and outright genocide perpetrated against Native American peoples. He also doesnt have much patience for complex maths; although he can work out a problem by sitting down and thinking it through logically, it is not his strongest subject.
Much of Rodericks social life involves his team or people he knows outside of school, such as friends on the reservation, but his reputation and accomplishments mean most have at least heard of him, and he is solidly among the popular crowd at Cochise. His intense demeanour can still come off as intimidating, to some, but he is known as someone who is fairly nice once he actually gets to know somebody, and as being fiercely loyal to those he has befriended. As such, and due to people wanting to be around an accomplished athlete, he has a number of people he can consider friends, be they close or more casual. Roderick is teetotal, having been raised by his parents to avoid drugs, tobacco and especially alcohol, but still frequents parties and student gatherings; he thinks its expected of him to make at least some kind of appearance at such events, and also feels bad about turning down a direct invitation if he receives one. His looks, locally-prominent family, driven nature and athletic success have also made him fairly popular with girls; he has had several relationships in his time at Cochise, and while many were flings or casual arrangements, he has also seriously dated some girls.
The most recent of these relationships has been with Nadia Riva, who he met at a house party in his junior year, after the wrestling season. While at first their relationship was casual and mostly physical, they bonded over their mutual contempt for Kingman, dreams of something bigger than what the town offered them, as well as Nadias growing interest in Navajo culture. Roderick has been happy to give her lessons in the language and culture, as well as to invite her along when he makes visits to the Navajo Nation. In the summer of that year, they decided to try a more serious relationship, which has been going well so far, although Roderick is still unsure what exactly he feels about Nadia and just how serious he wants to be with her. They are both thinking about whether or not they genuinely love each other, and have discussed their concerns about being held back from their ambitions due to their feelings for each other; Roderick does want to be with Nadia, and vice versa, but neither wants to force the other to choose between their relationship and following their dreams.
When it comes to his dreams, Roderick is not wholly decided on what he wants to do after school. As much as he loves wrestling, it does not offer much in the way of financially viable career paths like other high school sports do, although he would like to take it as far as he can. Roderick plans to wrestle in college, as well as to try to get on the US national team for the 2020 Olympics. He has also been considering trying to make a career out of mixed martial arts, or professional wrestling, once he has pursued the sport as far as he can. Outside his sport, he would like to do something well-paying, which has a tangible benefit to society, but does not want to be a lawyer, both due to the oversaturation of lawyers in the US legal market and his desire not to follow that closely in his fathers footsteps. Roderick is currently considering aiming for a medical career, due to his fascination with biology and desire to do something that will help people, though he isnt sure what specialisation at present. He might also like to do something that would help make wrestling more viable for Americans past the college level.
As colleges go, Roderick has many options due to his success as a wrestler, with several schools having offered him athletic scholarships. Some of these schools include UCLA, the University of Iowa, American University, Arizona State University, and his fathers alma mater, Stanford University. He has yet to decide what institution he actually wants to attend, but is leaning towards a school in California; Nadia intends to go to school in Los Angeles, and thus Roderick would like to remain close to her. As good of a school as Stanford is, Roderick is hesitant about attending, as he feels like he would be overshadowed by his fathers alumnus status, and that wrestling his way from Kingman to Stanford would be too close to reliving Vernons life. His reservations aside, at the urging of family, friends, and Nadia, he intends to declare for a specific college before graduation.
Advantages: Roderick is strong, tough, and a trained hand-to-hand fighter, and his body is accustomed to physical hardship. Weight management has trained him to be able to go long periods without food, or with very small amounts of it. He is known as a dependable friend to those on his good side, and his intense demeanour and physical capabilities make him someone many might prefer not to mess with. Roderick is driven and hard working, and has a laser-like focus on important tasks. His strong willpower makes him unlikely to give up in the face of adversity. He is fluent in the Navajo language, which could allow him to communicate secretly with other speakers.
Disadvantages: Although he has healed from the injury to his ankle, Rodericks recovery was somewhat recent, and he still favours it. He has a quick temper, and is known to burn his bridges more readily than some would consider advisable. Rodericks intense focus on things he deems important can result in an effect similar to tunnel vision, where he misses or doesnt pay attention to things he deems irrelevant to the task at hand, including acting in a somewhat neglectful manner in his interpersonal relationships. His willpower can also lead to not knowing when to back down; hes grown to believe any challenge can be overcome if he just tries hard enough, which can lead to a lack of pragmatism in overall world view.
Screw you for making me read this novel.