Life’s imperfections are what make it great

Third-year basketball player builds off obstacles

Nicholas Kamlet, Staff Reporter

Alicia Marie Gonzales is a third-year guard on the women’s basketball team. She has played basketball since the first grade and has continued to better herself at the sport despite suffering injuries. Off the court, she is an active member in Phi Mu, Theta Tau and the American Society of Civil Engineers as a civil engineering student.

What is your favorite part of being on the basketball team? Why?

My favorite part of being on the basketball team is being a part of a team full of strong, confident women who inspire me to work harder in basketball and in all aspects of my life. Many of my best friends in college are also my teammates, and we treat each other like teammates both on and off the court, making the bonds with one another on our team stronger.  

Where did you get your passion for basketball? Any good stories?

I got my passion for basketball from when I began playing as a little kid. In first grade, I attended my first basketball clinic where I was taught the basics of basketball, like how to dribble, pass and shoot. This was the first time I was ever exposed to basketball, and I did not realize at the time how large of an impact it was going to have on the rest of my life. I enjoyed learning how to play the sport, even when I broke my right arm at seven years old and learned all my basketball skills with my left-hand (making me a dominant left-handed basketball player despite being right-handed in all other parts of my life). I competed on my first organized basketball team in third grade and loved how it felt to work with a team to reach a common goal of winning. Although to some people athletics could be seen as a waste of time, my passion for basketball and my experiences with it from first grade to now have molded me into the person I am today. I believe that because of basketball, I have become a better leader and learned the importance at a young age of teamwork, effective communication, perseverance, learning how to lose and learn from failure and learning how to work hard, even when the odds are stacked against you. Basketball has been an integral part of my life for the past 14 years, and my passion for it has helped me to be successful in all other aspects of my life due to the traits that I gained from playing a team sport.

Do you have any games that you remember being particularly special? Why?

The most recent game that I remember being particularly special was during my [first] year here at [Case Western Reserve University]. We were playing [the] University of Chicago for our throwback weekend, which is the weekend that we play our games in Adelbert Gymnasium and wear [Flora Stone] Mather College uniforms to honor the all-women’s college that was in Cleveland before CWRU was established. It’s a big weekend where many alumni come back to visit. Everyone expected [the] University of Chicago to win the game, but our whole team went into the game determined to show them how great of a team we were. I remember that we all played very well that game and really worked hard for each other. We ended up beating Chicago, and many of our friends and family were at the game celebrating the big win with us. That game showed our team that, when we all work hard together, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Aside from basketball, what else are you involved in on campus? Can you explain your role?

I am an active member of Greek life in Phi Mu on campus, where I was the philanthropy director last year and assist the new philanthropy directors this year with running our main event coming up in the spring. I am also a part of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which is an organization through which I just received my latest internship offer as a part time engineering intern during the fall and spring semesters in the Building and Properties Department at Cleveland Clinic. I am also an active member of Theta Tau Fraternity, which is the fraternity on campus for engineers. I also have a job in the Athletic Department where I assist the Assistant Athletic Director in supporting the athletic department through the management of donations and record keeping of alumni. Through that job, I also assist in the event management of CWRU athletic events.  

Why are you majoring in civil engineering? What interests you about it?

I am studying civil engineering because I have always been interested in creating architecture and building structures, so getting a civil engineering degree can help me get involved in this on a more technical side in the future.  

What do you hope to accomplish with the degree?

I hope to get involved in work that allows me to create structures and infrastructure that improves the quality of life in the community that I am building in. I want to oversee construction projects that will become buildings and structures that will help improve people’s lives, whether that is constructing a bridge that will improve the flow of traffic in an area or creating a building that will become a hospital that many people can be healed in on a daily basis.

What are your favorite free time activities? Why?

My favorite free time activity is visiting new places with my friends. I do not get a lot of free time, so when I do, I like to spend it doing activities that I can enjoy with the people around me. I am not from Cleveland, so if I ever have an afternoon or weekend where I am free, I like to go explore different parts of Ohio, like Ohio City or different parts of downtown. I also enjoy going to the museums near campus, like the Cleveland Museum of Art and the [Cleveland Museum of] Natural History museum, because they remind me of the museums in Washington D.C, which is where I am from.

What is your favorite quote or what inspires you?

My favorite quote is “Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful” because I think it represents how life can still be great and amazing even if you make mistakes or have obstacles that you are going through. I aim to do everything to the best of my ability, whether it is in basketball, school or any aspect of my life. This quote reminds me that, even if I mess up or fall short in something, I can still continue on and be successful, even if my road to success is not perfect.