During it all came soccer, and tons of it at that. She started playing
in Whittier. She drew inspiration from coaches such as
Bejines’ scholastic attendance streak starting gaining notice in the family circles when she was in junior high school. About that time, Debra and father Carlos began encouraging Chelsea to go for the gusto, advising against typical high school ditch days and the like and try for a perfect attendance slate.
On days when she didn’t feel up to snuff, Chelsea just pushed through it. The school nurse had seen her from time to time, but only while she regained enough strength to return to class. And there never was a day when she was so ill she could have gotten other students sick. “Her attendance just became part of our routine of daily life,” says mom.
The Bejines family, which includes older brother Peter and younger brother Brandon, are quick to credit close family friends Connie and George Aldapa. It was as a babysitter that Connie, Chelsea says, began to stamp her impact on her stellar attendance.
“My mom says that if it were not for her, I never would have gotten to school,” Chelsea says.
Chelsea’s perfect attendance soon became a point of pride in the Bejinas household, as well as great coffee table conversation fodder. But it wasn’t until about the middle of her 9th through 12th grade run that Chelsea herself really focused on wanting to bust that finish line tape.
In the meantime, typical childhood/early adulthood maladies were either timely or avoided Bejines (pronounced Be-hee-nas) altogether.
Chicken pox? “Got in the summertime, around kindergarten and 1st grade.”
Swine flu? “Never got it.”
Soccer injuries? “This past year I sprained my ankle and was on crutches for two weeks.
“I’m really proud I’ve never missed a day. A lot of people can’t say that.”
No, she’s certainly never seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Chelsea credits exercise through soccer and healthy eating habits gained from her parents.
“I try to eat healthy,” she says. “[My parents] wouldn’t let me eat fast food or soda. So, I’ve never been into it. Water and milk are the only two drinks I’ll ever drink. In my sport you have to be healthy all the time.”
She’s the female Cal Ripken Jr. of Orange County. And if Bejines is going to equal or surpass the former baseball Iron Man’s streak of 17 consecutive years of not missing a day of work, she’s going to have to keep it alive through college, which she plans on doing.
Moving on to an institute of higher learning this fall will be a whole ’nother ballgame for Bejines, and made a bit more complex because she’s not exactly going to attend Desert Island U.
She chose Arizona State University — arguably the party capital of the western hemisphere. What Mater Dei is to Top 10 rankings for its sports teams, ASU, while undoubtedly a fine school, is to other Top 10 lists.
“I have no worries,” Debra says. “I know without doubt that in this society she is going to be great. She has proven that. It’s a very satisfying feeling to know that.”
“I’m ready to put myself through college and not miss a class,” says Chelsea, who plans on majoring in kinesiology and walking on at the ASU soccer program. “I’m sure it will take a lot of willpower to go to class but I’m not planning on missing class. I’ve never had an urge to miss class before.”
The lengths she went to in order to attend her ASU orientation — passing on her senior year spring break trip to Palm Springs — is proof enough of her resolve.
“Mom said I could go to orientation and miss a day of school, or miss spring break,” she said. “I missed my whole week of spring break and went to Arizona.”
And Congratulations to all the players as the move ahead on their new adventures!