A WALK WITH A HAWK ... FEATURING - KARIM GONZALEZ
March 1, 2012
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – It is often said that there is no definition as to what being normal really means. Does being normal have parameters? Is it something that shapes who an individual is?
While some argue that normal is subjective, others find the only way to be normal is to be abnormal. It’s a unique argument that allows people to examine what makes them feel most at home in their own lives.
For senior right-handed pitcher, Karim Gonzalez (Mexico City, Mexico), being abnormal is a part of his daily routine. His journey to normalcy has not been a long process, as he found out at an early age how important it is to stand out.
“A normal person is the one who doesn’t stand out,” said Gonzalez. “Those types of people tend to go unnoticed. They are the ones you don’t remember. You don’t have to do the greatest things to stand out.”
Being unique is something that Gonzalez prides himself on.
“I don’t have a cell phone, I have a rubik’s cube,” said Gonzalez. “I don’t have a TV, I have a chess set. I don’t collect hats, I collect books. I don’t like hot weather, I like it cold.”
Gonzalez has been able to channel difference and blend it into a successful student-athlete career at UMES. His tenure as a Hawk has included impressive work as a student, athlete, historian and gamer.
Several years ago, the senior was distinguished as the No. 1 player in the world in Rome: Total War. The avid gamer also enjoys playing the ocarina and can speak three languages.
He is a Dean’s List honoree and has won several Academic Excellence awards. Gonzalez is a two-time UMES Scholar Athlete of the Year and is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. He also has been nominated for the MEAC Man of the Year and the Lowe’s Senior Class Award.
Upon graduation from UMES, he plans on continuing his education at the next level.
“I want to attend the University of Oxford in England for my graduate studies and then work towards a doctorate degree in Military History and/or War Studies,” said Gonzalez. “I want to work for the army in national security or intelligence services. I also would like to conduct my own research and then teach in my later years.”
His success does not lie in just the classroom, as he is a standout on the mound for the Hawks’ baseball team as well.
Gonzalez currently has 115 strikeouts in his career at UMES. His ERA has proven to be one of the best each year and he has spent time as a starter, reliever and closer. Gonzalez has the most collegiate strikeouts of any player listed on UMES’ current roster and has six wins altogether.
In 2011, he was third on the team with 43 strikeouts and conceded just three homeruns in over 50 innings. He threw his first complete-game in a victory against Florida A&M as a freshman in 2009.
He aspires to make a career in baseball, where he wants to become a professional baseball player following his tenure with the Hawks. Gonzalez aspires to pitch for the Mexican National Team as well.
Baseball has not always come easy to the soft-spoken leader; in fact it has seen its fair of struggles even from an early age. He faced an elbow injury in his younger years, but rebounded and put together a fine junior career.
He was a standout athlete at the Universidad Panamericana Preparatoria in Mexico, before playing in the Pan American Games. In 2006, Gonzalez struck out 18 in a match against Costa Rica. His success would eventually gain attention from the College Prospects of America.
It was through this agency that Head Coach Will Gardner found Gonzalez.
UMES was not the only school that had called Gonzalez’s name, but he knew Princess Anne was his calling from the beginning. Although there is much difference between the Eastern Shore and Mexico City, it is a change he has learned to embrace.
“As an international student, my parents have never seen it here,” said Gonzalez. “When I first got here, I felt alone and far away from home. It’s definitely been worth it and my whole experience has been invaluable.”
There is no question that Gonzalez has already left his mark on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
He epitomizes the importance of being different. Difference is what makes him standout; it’s a quality that has distinguished him as one of the finest student-athletes to even don the maroon and gray.
“They say that if you want to be unforgettable, you have to be irreplaceable,” concluded Gonzalez. “I try my best to be that guy.”
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