The Scoop - Determined

"I like the feeling of winning." - Adan Gonzalez

Adan at the 2008 Golden Gloves Regional Championship in Fort Worth, Texas

Ding. Ding. Ding. Round three of three of the 2008 Golden Gloves Boxing Regional Championship is underway. If he wins the round, he wins the tournament. His trainer’s voice bellows from the corner, “Arriba a la derecha (overhand right)…Siguele (keep moving)…Ya lo trais (you got ‘em).” He knows what to do. This is who he is. He is a fighter.

 “I like the feeling of winning,” Adan Gonzalez said. “There’s something about seeing all the hard work and sacrifice come together when you win.”

In order to understand why Gonzalez fights, you must first understand his background. Gonzalez fights because he watched his parents fight for a better life. He is the third of four boys raised by Mexican immigrants. His father, Raul, has worked two jobs to support the family for as long as Gonzalez can remember, and his mother, Zenaida, did all she could to instill a strong set of values that would help her sons succeed in life.

Gonzalez fights because the neighborhood where he was raised taught him to be tough at an early age. South Oak Cliff in Dallas is a no holds barred section of town that either builds or breaks the young men who call it home. The family’s house is located in an area where gang violence is commonplace. To this day, his father’s voice can still be heard in the streets, yelling to his son to always be aware of his surroundings.

Gonzalez was first introduced to boxing at the age of nine. After countless scuffles with neighborhood kids, his father took him to the local gym to teach him a lesson on fighting. The lesson backfired when Gonzalez breezed through his first sparring session with an older boy, forcing his father to take notice of his physical abilities. Unbeknown to Gonzalez at the time, the discipline and perseverance that boxing required would prepare him for tougher fights ahead.

“Boxing is part of who he (Adan) is,” Raul Gonzalez said. “He’s learned about himself and how to control his emotions. It’s taught him to be dedicated to time and to work hard for his future.”

Gonzalez’s first bout outside the ring proved a difficult challenge against an unfamiliar foe: the English language. Gonzalez’s father made it clear to his sons at an early age that Spanish would be their primary language. He wanted his sons to be proud of who they were and where they came from. This decision would eventually lead Gonzalez into a protracted struggle to keep up with his peers in the classroom, testing his resolve for years to come.

Next up for Gonzalez was watching his parents endure a barrage of financial knockdowns through the years. No matter how hard his parents fought, it seemed that money, or the lack of it, always came out the victor. Gonzalez was determined to end his family’s losing streak. To earn extra money, he sold videos with his uncle at local flea markets when he was just 10 years old. At age 11, he started mowing lawns with his father on the weekends, doing whatever he could to help offset the family’s financial burdens.

Adan's Photo Album

Adan with Mr. Parker, the teacher who introduced him to DECA, at the Statue of Liberty. Adan at the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia. Adan poses with his life-size cut out that he uses on the campaign trail. Adan takes Cambodian orphans for ice cream! Adan on a trip to Parismina Island, Costa Rica, in 2010. Adan helping build a bathroom at Rann Village, Cambodia. Adan with Globe Aware volunteers and Rann villagers in Cambodia.

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