Taking on new tides

Amol Pande

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Senior took a hiatus from baseball, to focus on unconventional sport.

          A young man runs around a baseball diamond, sweat pouring down his face as he completes his infield drills. Despite the hard work in the heat, his wide smile is clearly visible as his teeth contrast his tan skin, a result of hours in the sun. Later in the week,he heads down to Shoreline, to work out in a different way — he is in the middle of the lake, soaked with water, carving through the waves, wind blowing through his hair and sails.

          Senior Shiron Drusinsky is not your typical high school athlete. He gave up an “average” sport he loved — baseball — for a sport he adored even more: windsurfing. While Drusinsky is a talented baseball player, he set aside his 10 years of experience to pursue a new sport.
           Drusinsky has been playing baseball since he was six. Back then, the bat came from Target, and there was no trace of phitens, sweatbands or CF5’s on his mind. Drusinsky had consistently been on the all-star team throughout his years in Little League. He attempted playing more serious travel ball when he grew older, with All Star Academy, Hartke and the South Bay Rays, but Drusinsky found that he didn’t enjoy playing baseball when it was serious. However, when he played with his friends, he loved it.

Drusinsky’s introduction to windsurfing was not as exciting as the sport itself. Per his mother’s request, he participated in a windsurfing class during the summer before seventh grade.
          Drusinsky continued juggling both sports for the rest of middle school and through his freshman year at MVHS. During his sophomore year, however, he felt he could no longer balance school, baseball and windsurfing. To relieve the stress, he stopped playing baseball.

“At that time I was more into windsurfing than I was into baseball,” Drusinsky said.

“[Stopping baseball altogether] helped me secure my job at Shoreline from March to August. ”

           He did receive negative responses from his baseball teammates, and several times felt as if he had let his team down. One of Drusinsky’s teammates, Class of 2013 alumnus Peter Stern, felt that Drusinsky had a massive amount of talent and athletic ability that he was throwing away, because at the time, windsurfing didn’t seem like an acceptable alternative. Early on Shiron received most of his support from home

            “My parents supported me and actually felt like that was the right choice,” Drusinsky said. “Having a job your sophomore year, especially such a unique, high-paying job is something not many people can say.”

            Drusinsky’s other friends did their best to support him, but struggled when most of his time was dedicated to his job at Shoreline. Senior Shannon Miller, one of his closest friends, recalls all the times he was busy when they wanted to hang out in the summer.

            “It’s not fun to not be able to hang out with one of your closest friends,” Miller said. “But
you can’t get mad at your friends for doing something they love.”

           Focusing solely on work and windsurfing did strengthen his skills, but Drusinsky found himself back on the baseball diamond his junior year. At that point in his high school, work and athletic careers, he felt he could dedicate time to both sports.

          “Shiron did come back slightly rusty but he really did work for it. He was even calling me on days off to go to the cages and hit with him,” Stern said. “I knew he was very dedicated.”

          Drusinsky has been adamantly searching for a college that meets his academic needs and has windsurfing or sailing teams. The NCAA does not recognize sailing as an official college sport, so most teams are more like clubs and compete with the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association. Because it is not an NCAA sport, Drusinsky and other sailing athletes cannot receive scholarships, but can still be recruited.


             

                Thus far, Drusinsky has practiced once with the UC Santa Barbara team, but is uncertain whether he will study and sail there. He has been waitlisted at UCSB, and while the coach could not help him with admission, Drusinsky was guaranteed a spot on the team if he attends.
                Now in the last months of his senior year, Drusinsky is satisfied with his athletic decisions throughout high school.
              “Sometimes I wish I played baseball my sophomore year,” he said. “But at the time…I was way more into windsurfing and I didn’t want baseball to hold me back, especially when I was so devoted. I don’t regret my choice. I definitely would have continued pursuing windsurfing, and I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t make the choices that I did.”

                 On April 19, 2014, Drusinsky took senior Ryan Manley and his girlfriend Emma Sadowski out sailing. Manley had no clue what any of the terms and techniques were, unlike Sadowski he had no sailing experience. Within the matter of an hour Manley was sailing around the lake performing difficult maneuvers with ease. With Drusinsky’s guidance, Manley quickly familiarized himself with the in’s and out’s of sailing, a huge difference from before, as Manley didn’t know the difference between upwind and downwind.