By Will Conerly
Kevin Fitzgerald felt the pressure. Sweat running down his hand, and nerves all throughout his body. He was faced with a decision that would dictate what he did every day for the next four years.
This is because Fitzgerald graduated from Riverside-Brookfield high school with historical and decorated baseball and basketball careers. However, he had to pick just one.
The word ‘decorated’ or ‘historic’ may not do justice to what Fitzgerald actually achieved.
For baseball and basketball combined Fitzgerald helped his team win six conference titles, four regional titles, three sectionals, one super-sectional appearance, one state appearance for three-point shooting, and eight years of participation for his school.
“It is the toughest decision I ever had to make. 4 more years of baseball, or basketball. I couldn’t decide. I had offers for both,” Fitzgerald said.
Eventually, Kevin Fitzgerald’s senior year his life was changed forever when he decided to come to Quincy University to play baseball.
Fitzgerald was excited to help the Quincy Hawks baseball team, one of the top division two teams in the country, as an incoming freshman.
“My goal was to start on JV freshman year, travel as a sophomore, get some time junior year, and be a guy senior year, unfortunately, that did not work out,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald played baseball for two years at Quincy. This past autumn he dismissed himself from the team for academic reasons.
“I had to stop playing baseball. I had to focus on school. That comes first. This is a change for me that is tough and I have yet to overcome it. I miss baseball every day,” Fitzgerald said.
Resultantly, Fitzgerald focused on school and got his GPA up to his liking.
Fitzgerald also had a lot more free time with the lack of a daily practice schedule.
He re-found his love and passion for basketball. Every day he went in shot hoops in the Health and Fitness Center and players and coaches noticed. He was asked to play the JV coach, Von Washington.
“I looked at my old high school video and I said ‘man I can do this’. So I texted the coach the night before a game (with 4 left in the season) and was playing the next day,” Fitzgerald said.
The Junior Varsity basketball team got their sole victory of the season with Fitzgerald on the team in the last game of their season.
“It was great to be back out and competing in a sport again. I missed it and I love it,” Fitzgerald said
Fitzgerald has also had changes to his major. He came in as an accounting major, then switched to chemistry.
Now, Fitzgerald is a biology major with the intention to become a biology teacher and zoologist.
“I want to make a difference and help the wildlife become more preserved and help to stop the harm that is happening to it. That is what is it all about,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said he will try to approach change the same way he always has. He wants to continue growing and therefore changing for whatever happens in the future.
“If you know change is a possibility, it will help you in dealing with things not going your way,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald knows many things such as his best friends, major, or sport he plays are no guarantees in life.
“My lifelong best friend came to Quincy with me as my roommate and he left after the first semester. I got a new roommate for the second semester who also played baseball and we became best friends as well. He left after the year was over. I still keep in touch with them but I have learned people will come and go,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said despite people coming and going from Quincy University, he has met some lifelong friends.
“He is so outgoing and nice, such a great guy, one of the best I’ve ever met,” Senior Halee Nurnberger said.
Many people around campus know of Fitzgerald because of his social nature.
“Fitz is one of the most beast people I have ever met. He is a beast and a good friend of mine. It is always fun to hang out with him,” junior soccer player Ty Rodgers said.
Weather Fitzgerald’s major, sport, or friends change; he continues to persist. Fitzgerald’s life has been filled with changes, with certainly more to come.