by Andrew Garda
Like everyone else, it’s been a long quarantine for Montclair High School graduate and former Mounties baseball pitcher Ethan Greengrass.
At the beginning, he tried to stay in baseball shape by playing catch with his dad, and working on his baseball skills, but once the NJSIAA scuttled the season, Greengrass felt a little down.
“I kind of went into like, sort of a little depression,” he said. “Then I started playing a lot of video games and eating a lot of food to pass time. You know, watching Netflix. It’s been like kind of a roller coaster.”
Video games and Netflix seem to have done the trick for Greengrass, who connected with friends online to play games like NBA 2k, Call of Duty and Grad Theft Auto.
“I don’t usually play video games unless I’m playing with my friends,” he said. “We do voice chat. I feel like I’ve been keeping in good touch with my PS4 friends way better than the people who don’t play PS4.”
There’s time for family too, as every weekend the Greengrass family settles in for a movie.
“Every Saturday, [we do] a family movie night where we just pick a random movie from Netflix and watch it.”
Greengrass said his family likes movies like Back to the Future and Airplane, and if they can be found on Netflix, that’s what they’ll watch.
“But if not, it’s pretty random.”
When the parents aren’t involved, Greengrass and his sister look towards the horror category.
“We’re big fans of scary movies,” he said. “So every now and then we’ll just watch a terrible, scary movie, that’s not even fun to watch, but because it’s scary, I guess it’s entertaining.”
Until Wednesday June 24, when he had virtual graduation, Greengrass also had to get through the last of his high school work before he would be able to head off to Rutgers-New Brunswick in the fall.
That wasn’t always easy.
“Not being in school, “senioritis” has hit times 3000,” he said. “It was very hard to do all my schoolwork. But they created these systems where zeroes turned into 55s so honestly, they made really hard to fail unless you’re trying to fail.”
It was still stressful though, he said, especially without the normal outlet of playing baseball.
Greengrass and the Mounties baseball team were hoping to build off a glorious 2019 season, which saw them overcome the disruption of moving their home field from Woodman to Nishuane Park, due to construction, and win their first Greater Newark Tournament title since 2013 in a 12-1 rout over rival Seton Hall Prep.
“You know, I really thought we had a good chance to defend our title, which why it sucks that this season got canceled this year,” he said. “Because going in, I was starting to see how much talent we really had on the younger levels.”
He may not have had the chance to defend the title, but Greengrass still has some great memories of the year.
“The senior class from last year was obviously one of the best senior classes, of all time for Montclair,” he said. Greengrass had gotten to know the group from opportunities he’d had during his freshman and sophomore seasons where he got to practice with or tryout for the varsity squad.
So when the team took the field at Nishuane last season, they were very excited and hopeful. They knew they could have a special season.
Greengrass said they just didn’t know just how special it would be.
“I didn’t know that it was going to be that successful,” he said with a laugh. “But right off the bat, we were hanging out as a team most nights, and we really formed a nice culture, where we were just a family. Every game, it just felt like, before we even started, we were going to win. Like, the confidence was there.”
Greengrass said the team adapted to Nishuane Park, which was where many of them had grown up playing before heading to Montclair High, and started to take advantage of the small holes and divots which caused balls to take what the team called “Nish Hops”, as well as the deep outfields and occasionally banged up infield.
Greengrass will always treasure that GNT win, as well as that junior season.
“Winning GNT, like I’d never thought I’d ever experience that,” he said. “I can honestly say it was one of the best moments of my life. The fact that I got to win that championship with my family, it really means a lot. I’ll definitely never forget that.”
It’s a good note to end his baseball career on, though he intends to play some club at school. Greengrass said that although he loves the sport, though, he needs to focus on his future, which will not center on baseball.
To that end, Greengrass will be pursuing a business degree, possibly with an emphasis on finance.
That could change though once he starts classes.
“My sister goes to Tulane, and I think she just chose her major,” he said. “And she’s going to be a senior next year. So, I’ve heard that you get some time to think about it.”
Until he starts classes, Greengrass will continue to connect with his friends either over a game of Call of Duty online or in the backyard sitting six feet apart around a fire pit, enjoying the last few months of time before moving on to college.