Saturday morning, September 11th, 2010 Darlyn Gonzalez and roommate Alberto Morales woke up early to go play in a double header for their new team, the Clarendon Bulldogs. These two ball players are no strangers to each other. They spent the last four years playing at Norman Thomas High School in New York City and were now roommates down in Texas.
According to Alberto the double header finished around 2:00 pm. They went to the cafeteria to get something to eat and then headed back to their dorm room. At that point both boys were tired and were going to grab a nap. Darlyn decided to go with some teammates down to Greenbelt Lake. Morales, already asleep, could never have imagined what would happen next. He was awakened when his teammates came into his room to tell him Darlyn drowned.
Bulldog players told Darlyn’s roommate Alberto that they were swimming out to an “island” in the middle of the lake. Apparently Darlyn was getting tired while swimming and didn’t realize that the lake had become deeper than expected. Teammates tried to help him as he struggled to save himself. Authorities were called to help save Darlyn but his body was not recovered until approximately 11:00 pm.
“Everyone is just devastated,” said Morales. “I can’t go in my room because I get goose bumps. Right now I’m staying with two guys at school who are also from NY. I have to be strong.” When asked to describe his roommate, Alberto said, “Darlyn was always smiling and wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s the type of guy who would give me his food before he even ate. I love that guy.”
Norman Thomas’ baseball coach, Nerva Jean Pierre was devastated about the tragedy this past weekend. “Darlyn was a class act and a true example of a student athlete. He was committed to his academics and carried himself the right way. In the four years I coached him he never raised an eyebrow. All he ever did was smile.”
Clarendon College, located in the Texas Panhandle, has been supportive to the grieving students. Morales stated, “The town here is small, so everyone knows what happened.
The church had a ceremony and the school is offering us counseling. Everyone has been very supportive.” One question is still not answered at this time. Why has the lake taken the lives of 24 people? At this time we have not been able to contact anyone in Clarendon to answer questions.
Needless to say, anyone who knew Darlyn is mourning the loss of this honor roll, student athlete, from Norman Thomas High School. The passing of her brother stuns Gigi Gonzalez, Darlyn’s sister. While fighting back tears on the phone she said, “I love him and miss him like crazy. He was the best.”
Darlyn’s memory will live on in many different ways with many different people. One unforgettable memory will be the 2009 PSAL Championships where Gonzalez drove in the first run of the game with an infield single. Darlyn and his teammates went on to win that game and capture there first ever PSAL ‘A’ title championship. Memories like that will never be forgotten. Coach Jean Pierre said it best. “God wanted one of his angels back. He let us have him for a little while but he’s got work to do up there.”
Darlyn is survived by his parents Franklin and Diburga Gonzalez, his sister Guadalupe and his brother Warlyn. Funeral services will be held at the Ortiz Funeral Home on 190th Street and Broadway in Manhattan from 2-9 pm on Friday, September 17, 2010.