Steven Alfaro was rolling. The Wilson senior defensive tackle was winding his 6-foot, 240-pound frame through an obstacle course for linemen during a recent practice. He nimbly high-stepped through a rope course, executed sharp cuts through a line of cones and then managed to locate a loose football tossed from behind him.
His agile feet and powerful build gave little hint to the fine, intricate skills required for his other passion: Building model cars. Across just about any flat surface in the bedroom of his Southeast home stands Alfaro's miniature collection.
There is the white Buick Grand National. Nearby is the deep metallic purple Chrysler 300. A candy apple red Cadillac Escalade sits a few inches away. Alfaro has more than 20 of them -- including about five that stand atop the big-screen television in the basement. Each pristine.
"I might see a car in a magazine," Alfaro said. "Or do a Google search on the Internet for exotic cars, muscle cars or street cars. Whatever tickles my fancy. That's what I go with. I try to find things that normal people haven't seen except for the [auto]makers. I like prototypes."
Alfaro's obsession with putting together small things began at the age of 7 with a cousin. They would chip in to buy a 500-piece Lego set and spend hours putting it together. "We would take turns putting together sections so we both wouldn't lose our minds figuring out where the pieces went," he said.
Assembling model cars came later, around the age of 12. An older cousin had taken up the hobby and Alfaro often helped paint the cars. Alfaro's passion for cars grew even more as he watched his stepfather, a mechanic, work on cars in his repair shop. "I would see [the car kits] in the store and I wanted to put my own together," he said.
Constructing the cars took Alfaro some time. He has finally gotten the time down to a hour, two if it's a bigger truck. He learned that he couldn't assemble the cars on his bed because a shift in weight could send a hair-thin screw tumbling onto the carpet. "I make sure I set out every piece before I even start," he said. "So I know exactly where I'm starting from and exactly where I'm going."
Alfaro revels in the process of building as much as he does displaying the finished product. "It's really like heaven to me, like football," he said. "I have no worries in my life. It's the same thing building a car. I can't hear the phone ring, don't know what's on TV. I might have some music on, but I forget the song. That's how focused I get."