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Profile of the Week: Akoni Hamilton-Golis

By Jon Painter
On February 22, 2019

Photo by Matthew Hicks

“You see a nice green mountain. It’s beautiful and green; paradise,” says Akoni Ikaikaolakealoha Hamilton-Golis as he describes his home state of Hawaii.  

Hamilton-Golis is a senior pitcher on the Ottawa University Braves baseball team. But for the Braves baseball team, he is more than just a pitcher. His vibrant energy and constant smile is its beating heart.

“Akoni is one of the most fun guys you could ever hope to be around,” says Gatlin Watson, one of the assistant baseball coaches and a former teammate of Hamilton-Golis. Watson described Hamilton-Golis as having contagious optimism, while noting players are drawn to his positivity and humor.

His middle name, Ikaikaolakealoha, means “the strong life that brings love.” After all, it takes a lot of strength and willpower to leave the beauty of Hawaii to come to the frozen fields of Kansas to play baseball.  

“Anybody that knows Akoni knows that he is a light-hearted and fun-loving guy,” Watson says. “What people may not know is how much of a competitor he is. He’s the kind of guy that wants to win at everything.”

Hamilton-Golis started playing baseball while he was growing up because he began to get bored of going to the beach.

“I wanted to do a sport, so I got to baseball. And ever since then I fell in love with it and continued it to today,” Hamilton-Golis said.

Prior to coming to Ottawa University, Hamilton-Golis played baseball and ran cross country at the College of the Siskiyous, a community college in Weed, Cal.. for two years.

He did not intend on running cross country for the College of the Siskiyous, but felt an obligation to the coach who recruited him, who was leaving baseball to coach the cross country team.

“Never again, I’ll tell you that,” he says, describing how, after running four miles at cross country practice, he would then go to baseball practice where the conditioning for pitchers was, of course, running.

While no longer running at the heavy rate he used to, Hamilton-Golis still exercises his lungs by constantly singing and rocking with whatever music is blaring at baseball practices in Ottawa. If no music is playing, Hamilton-Golis provides the beat.

He says if he had to choose a favorite music genre to listen to for the rest of his life, it would be island reggae.

“Back at home I listen to a lot of island reggae music of course, but we also make it ourselves,” the physical education major says. “We just grab the ukulele and start jamming and singing with each other.”

He says what he misses most about home is when sitting around with family and someone grabs the ukulele, inspiring a group sing-along.

“It’s my favorite time. It gives me chills sometimes. It’s like in those moments nothing can go wrong; I love those moments,” he says.

Hamilton-Golis adds, “I thought I wanted to see more when, personally, I think I had it all already. So after this I’m going to go home and definitely take in the moments.”   

 

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