By Joselyn Garcia
Whether he is crushing unsuspecting receivers or jumping over inferior defenders, Beach High senior Donnie Gaitor has proved himself to be an outstanding two-sport athlete. His tremendous ability in both football and basketball has made him the captain of both teams, and he is well on his way to a bright future in either sport.
Football appealed to Gaitor at an early age. “It was my first love,” he said. He joined the Beach High football team his sophomore year and has become a team leader, playing safety for the Hi-Tides.
Gaitor’s basketball calling came in middle school when his Physical Education teacher recommended that Beach High take a look at him.
“From there on, the sky was the limit,” Gaitor said.
He has been an outstanding member of the Beach High team since sophomore year. Like the football team, the basketball team is led by Gaitor’s presence. Gaitor has averaged eleven points and eleven rebounds per game this season.
With the help of Beach High basketball coach Diego Garcia, Gaitor believes he h s improved tremendously. “Coach Garcia helped me develop a shot. I used to shoot from my chest up with two hands,” he explained. “I had to put my right hand behind myback, and I had to do everything with my left, on and off the court. Eat with my left, write with my left; soon it became a habit and I got used to it.”
As for football, Coach Ralph Jimenez improved Gaitor’s speed and leg work. “[Jimenez] would make me come out with the parachute and run down the field,” he said.
Being the captain of both teams has required much responsibility. “I feel like I had to be a leader, talk for everybody and be that last voice so everybody can be motivated and get inspired, stated Gaitor, who adds that he has to be “there if anybody needs me.”
Next year, Gaitor hopes to bring his football talents to Marshall University. “I talked to the oach, he is a great guy”, Gaitor said.
As the class of 2009 graduates, Donnie wants to be remembered as “a solid, loving, double athlete who was just real cool, try’s to put a smile on our face, and someone you could come up to and talk to.”