Shapiro has his game plan set Gilman star keeps sports in perspective

November 08, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

David Shapiro had an eighth birthday that most kids can only dream about.

His cake was personally delivered by Orioles Eddie Murray, Mike Boddicker, Cal Ripken Jr. and Rick Dempsey, along with their rendition of the happy birthday song.

Later that year, after the Orioles downed the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, he shared their moment in the locker room.

"The champagne showers, watching them being interviewed -- iwas awesome," said Shapiro, a nose guard, defensive tackle and center on Gilman's third-ranked football team. "Back then, I idolized them and wanted to be the kind of athletes they were."

Gilman coach Sherm Bristow thinks he has the potential to be just that. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder is the Greyhounds' leading tackler. He also wrestles and is one of Gilman's top returning baseball players.

"He's more physically mature than he was as a junior. Now he's our strongest, toughest defensive lineman, with legitimate speed and quickness," Bristow said.

Entering yesterday's 14-13 loss at No. 6 Poly (6-2, 6-1), Shapiro led a team that had outscored its opponents, 147-25, getting its fifth shutout, 31-0, over Mount St. Joseph last weekend.

Shapiro had 11 tackles, including two sacks, against Poly.

SG "He's also our center," said Bristow. "He calls all of our blocking


Yet even if the Division I Colleges come calling, Shapiro likely will eschew the big time.

His life as the son of Ron Shapiro -- the man who successfully negotiated Cal Ripken's $30 million contract with the Orioles -- has changed his perspective of the athletic limelight.

"Seeing my dad work with professional athletes has had almost the opposite effect. I've seen athletes who make a lot of money, but it's allowed me to put it all into perspective," said Shapiro, a second-year veteran who has routine contact with players such as Minnesota Twins center fielder Kirby Puckett.

"I've also seen the pitfalls. I've seen what happens when the career is over, and what it boils down to is that they have the same problems as everyone else."

Which isn't to say that Shapiro isn't an excitable player.

He's among the first to whoop it up before a game or after a victory, and was among the first to cry after the Greyhounds' 12-7 loss to top-ranked City.

"When it comes to playing football," he said, "I'm as serious as anybody."

For the Greyhounds (7-2, 6-2), Shapiro's 12 sacks are a team-high, as are his 10 tackles for a loss.

With a 3.3 grade-point average, Shapiro has been as consistent in the classroom as he has on the football field.

He hopes his talents land him at one of his preferred Division IIcolleges, Amherst or Williams College (both in Massachusetts), or Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he'll pursue either a liberal arts or political science degree.

His brother, Mark, was also a three-sport athlete before graduating from Gilman in 1985. He is now the director of minor-league operations with the Cleveland Indians.

"My ideal place is somewhere like Gilman, where the attitude is you play games on Saturday, practice two hours a day," said Shapiro, who ranked second as a first baseman last spring in hitting (.355 average) and in RBI. "It's [a professional career] not the way I'm going to support my family.

"I want to be able to play football and baseball in college, but I don't want them to be my whole identity. I want a life outside of football and baseball, and I don't think you see that in Division I."

Until then, however, the senior will be happiest mowing down defensive lineman as the team's center. Or, as a nose guard, using a crunching tackle to separate offensive players from the ball.

Shapiro, who bench presses 280 pounds, attributes his development to good coaching.

"It's not so much my instincts as what I've learned from our staff," he said. "This is the best team I've been a part of at Gilman and it's going to be a great thing to look back on in a few years."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.