Maybe it’s because he’s the youngest of three brothers, but whatever the reason Jack Vinitsky knows what it takes to be tough. The Mashpee High senior, who is one of the captains of the Mashpee/Monomoy ice hockey team and will be one of the captains of the MHS football team, plays every game with resiliency and physicality, whether he’s manning the blueline or playing linebacker.
The son of John and Sheri Vinitsky is a two-time all-star on the football team, and a one-time hockey all-star. He said his favorite subject in school is drafting class and his most-prized possession is his dog, Chloe. His favorite meal is a No. 9 from McDonald’s with an orange Hi-C. He said “Blades of Glory” is his favorite movie and “Trailer Park Boys” is his favorite show.
How did you get involved with hockey? How much do you enjoy it?
I got involved with hockey through the Falmouth Youth Hockey program. I first started skating when I was 3 years old and have been in love with it ever since.
Describe your feelings when you found out that you were going to get to play a senior season this year after the spring sports were canceled.
I knew it was going to be a lot different than usual, which upset me initially but I quickly came to the understanding that sacrifices need to be made to be able to play the season, so we adapted and are trying our best to have a fun and memorable senior year.
Football season will be held in March and April this year. How do you feel about that, and what are your expectations for the season?
It should be a great year; things are definitely going to be different than how they usually are with the ongoing pandemic. I think the weather and the cold will play a big factor in a couple games as well, but the team is looking healthy and I think we are all ready to go have some fun and play some football.
You came back from a pretty serious leg injury that you suffered your sophomore year to play both contact sports. Were you apprehensive about getting back into it? Is it something that you still think about?
I still think going to the hospital was an overreaction. It wasn’t really a question if I would be back to playing contact sports; this is something I love and would. I wanted to be back as soon as I could.
What do you think a scouting report would say about you?
Leader by example, fundamental, hard-hitting and chippy.
If you could replay one game that you have played in, which one would it be? Why?
It would have to be the hockey game we had won against Nauset last year. We have always had a pretty intense rivalry between ourselves and Nauset, so there was a lot of hype. We also do not get a lot of fans usually but everyone decided to pop out last year, so the atmosphere was electric and something you will never forget.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
We do an egg toss at the end of each football season. Not to brag but, I have come pretty close to winning the whole thing. I think this year might be the one.
Who is the best teammate that you’ve ever played with? What makes that person stand out?
Playing hockey with my brother Joshua was a unique experience. I would say he has to be my best teammate. He always knows how to communicate well on and off the ice and was a great captain and role model, always putting the team first when he played. I have taken a lot from his leadership and have tried to put it into my game.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
I will quote my friend Michael Scott from “The Office”: “I am not superstitious but I am a little ‘stitious.”
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
There are not many things you can control other than yourself in this world, so if you always put forth that extra effort, that little push of energy that you got left in the tank, then you know no matter what the outcome may be, you will be walking away with something you can be proud of, knowing you left it all out there, that there was nothing better you could have done.
Was there anything that you accomplished or worked on improving during quarantine that you’re proud of?
I worked at the boatyard mostly over quarantine and I did a lot of painting, so I am pretty proud of those skills. You can just call me the next Michelangelo.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my mother and father for their constant support and encouragement. Thanks for all the car rides to games since I was a kid and for always being in my corner. Also a thank-you to all my coaches for teaching me lessons I will never forget.
What’s the most-interesting place you’ve ever visited? Is there somewhere in the world that you’ve always dreamed of going? Why?
I went to Arby’s in Michigan once, and it wasn’t anything crazy. It was my first time at Arby’s though…I got pastrami.
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?
One piece of advice would be to focus on the little things, and balance is one of the hardest things to find but, when you have balance, everything becomes easier.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
I have a pet bird named Chico; he is a green cheek conure and a mean bird. He likes to bite your fingers a lot.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be and what would you want to do?
I would not want to miss a single day here, so I am not sure who I would be.
Describe your idea of the perfect day.
About 85 degrees and sunny. Potentially fishing.
What are your post-high school plans?
I plan on attending a four-year college to earn a degree in a to-be-determined major.