Track and field has been a sport at Mashpee High School that has been low on quantity but high on quality in recent years. Deshawn Adler was one of the highest-quality athletes that the Falcons have had over the past four years and this spring was supposed to be his victory lap as an MHS standout.
Deshawn has been on the track team for four years and has helped keep Mashpee competitive even when the numbers have not been in their favor. The son of Heather and John Hartman is also a standout student at MHS. He said that physics is his favorite subject in school. His most-prized possession is a 1916 Shepherd’s Hook Cornet that his stepfather found and gifted him.
Deshawn is a big fan of animation and said that “Howl’s Moving Castle” is his favorite movie and “Cowboy Bebop” is his favorite TV show. While he doesn’t think he has one absolute favorite recording artist, he said that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are definitely near the top of his list.
After being exclusively a track athlete, Deshawn joined the soccer team for his senior year and had a great season for that team as well. He said his favorite meal is an elaborate pot roast his family makes. This year he was the recipient of the winter track team’s Falcon Award and captained the team. He also was the student coordinator for the Credit For Life Fair that was supposed to be held at Mashpee this spring, but was canceled.
How did you get involved with track? How much do you enjoy it?
Track was the second sport that I became involved in officially, after trying basketball in 7th grade. It was to me a way to improve my most essential physical skills and a sport that I would not have to be worried about being behind my peers due to a lack of technique that they had already developed when they started years ago. Track became a newfound passion of mine and one that resulted in me annually.
Training for track in New England can be tough considering the weather for most of the time you are competing. How much self-motivation does it take to put in the work every day, and how did you keep yourself on top of your game?
It takes a lot of motivation to just run in general, especially when most people dislike it, so having a sport that is entirely focused on that is tough. There are going to be days where I am absolutely pumped and cannot wait to get on the track, while others have me dread going out in the cold to run pyramids. Track is something that requires running no matter how one feels, but at the end of every practice or weekend run I know I will be glad I did.
You played soccer for the first time this year. What prompted you to go out for the team, and what was the experience like?
I originally decided to join the cross country team in the fall, but there was no varsity team this year for Mashpee. I thought I might as well try a new sport and I was stuck between soccer and football. I saw soccer to be more beneficial for me than football because I see it as a more leg-oriented sport and one that was less injury-prone. I worked hard in improving my soccer skills since the start of the summer. I worked out in the morning, went to the laboratories, then went to captain’s practices at Heritage Park. On the days there were no practices I either ran or went to Heritage on my own to practice shooting. Within that first week, I knew I had made a great decision. I loved soccer as well and wished I had started sooner. While our season was a low one due to the fourteen seniors graduating the year before, I loved every minute I was on the field.
If you could replay one game that you have played in, which one would it be? Why?
That would be the meet that I tried the 400m event for the first time, which was against Sturgis West and Rockland High, despite coming in third. It is an event that most would say is one of the more difficult ones, but it is one that I feel is just right for me. I would like to experience the same kind of excitement that discovering something for the first time brings.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
The highlight of my athletic career was at the very beginning when I gave track a chance. I took a chance and discovered something I love and that would shape who I become as well as how I perceive new activities.
Who is the best teammate that you’ve ever played with? What makes that person stand out?
Xavier Gonsalves was the best teammate that I played with, and I am glad that I was able to for most of high school. He is a genuine person of integrity. No matter what the situation was he maintained a positive attitude, and he is overall a great person to be around.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
I would not say I have any superstitions, though I make sure to avoid eating apples prior to running.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
The most important thing I have learned from sports is the relationship between failure and humility. No one becomes the top of their field without experiencing failure, and having the humility to know that they have much to improve from it.
Who has been your inspiration?
My inspiration stems from the respect my grandfather Keith Emin garners from others; not from his wealth, but due to his constant dedication towards his job and unwavering integrity.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my mother for being there since the beginning and always trying to do the best for me, my step-father for becoming a father figure early in my life, my Emin grandparents for providing a place that I have always considered a second home, my coaches that have worked with me for over half a decade assisting in my growth in more ways than one, and for all of my friends, family, and teachers for their support and various perspectives on life.
When quarantine life is over, what is the thing you are most looking forward to doing?
I will be looking forward to meeting new people and interacting in groups again.
What’s the biggest difference between you as a senior and as a freshman? If you could go back, what advice would you give to your freshman self?
The knowledge surrounding fitness would be the biggest difference between my current self and my freshman self. I would give advice pointing to what resources I should rely on to provide me with accurate information regarding all aspects of physical health.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
I used to have leg braces and went to physical therapy at an early age so that I could walk. It was due to a birth defect, Metatarsus Abductus, which turned the natural position of my legs to be inward. I do not think many people would know due to the full corrections made and my family moving to Mashpee sometime after my treatment was over.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be and what would you want to do?
I would switch places with anyone who has a very different life and culture from mine. I would want to experience what they do and deal with daily so that I could be more mindful of the struggles other people have.
Describe your idea of the perfect day
My perfect day would involve a great variety of activities, mostly outdoors. The location would be Martha’s Vineyard because I was born there and have spent a lot of time there. It would start around 8 AM and I would take a cold shower. After a hearty breakfast, the day would have two main parts to it. The first would take place in the woods: walking along trails, finding suitable trees to climb (birch trees are the best), and finding a long rope-swing (preferable one near a clean body of water). The second part would involve the ocean: jumping off Jaws Bridge, going water-tubing, and sailing with a Sunfish. It would end on the deck of a wooden scow underneath the stars gently rocking with the waves.
What are your post-high school plans?
I will be attending school at UMASS Amherst College of Engineering starting this fall. I will be in the AFROTC program and after completing my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I will be in active duty in the Air Force for four years.
Where will you be in 10 years, and what will you be doing?
In 10 years I will either be two years into my term of Individual Ready Reserves and working with something in the engineering field, or I could be in active duty for the sixth year.