WATERBURY >> When getting ready to play lacrosse, a player needs a helmet, stick, cleats, shoulder pads and gloves. Lewis Mills’ senior Greg Osanitsch wears all of that gear with one minor exception, he wears a specially made glove on his left hand.
“It’s a baseball glove with the fingers cut out it — it has part of a lacrosse glove sewn in,” he said of the glove his grandfather made him at the Shoe Hospital in Bristol when he started playing.
Osanitsch was born with Poland Syndrome.
“You’re either are missing your right or left hand and right or left pectoral,” said Osanitsch, who doesn’t have his left hand or pectoral muscle and has played lacrosse since he was in the third grade.
“That was tough,” he said. “I didn’t score my first goal until my third season.”
Despite what some would see as disadvantage, Osanitsch has never seen it that way.
“No never, I’ve never had two hands,” he smiled, yet there was one sport he wasn’t allowed to play. “My mom wouldn’t let me play football, because of not having a left pectoral.”
His coaches and teammates had never have taken it easy on him either.
“We’ve never let him use it as an excuse, he gets no breaks, he doesn’t want them,” Lewis Mills head coach Pat Schmitt said. “I’ve coached him for the last eight to 10 years, including in youth, he has never let it slow him down.”
“He never let it affect him or bother him,” Lewis Mills senior captain and friend Jake Magnoli. “No we play normal; no one is going to take it easy during a game.”
Osanitsch though has had to find different ways to get things done the field.
“I have had to find some creative ways to go left,” he said.
Opposing coaches have told their players to force him to the left.
“It’s funny when I beat them to that side,” he laughed. “I’ve adapted to go past someone to the left.”
He has even heard some trash talk from some opponents, not that it could bother him.
“Sometimes by other teams, but it just makes me want to go harder,” he said.
Though he has had to make adjustments to his game because of the special glove he wears, like passing.
“It’s more like a lever,” he said as he demonstrated the motion.
“The only things I can’t do are pushups and the monkey bars,” he smiled.
Osanitsch also ran track and field at Lewis Mills and has played another sport.
“I was actually on the eighth grade basketball team,” he said. “That was tough.”
Osanitsch will be heading to college next year to study international business, but first he has the rest of his senior lacrosse season ahead of him.
“He’s one of the best players on the team,” Magnoli said. “At the end of the season, he’ll usually have the most assists.”